PHOENIX -- Carlos Santana can probably still hear the Cubs fans yelling from the left-field bleachers in his head. With next to no outfield experience in his career, but no designated hitter available at Wrigley Field, the first baseman found himself playing left in Game 3 of last year's World
PHOENIX -- Carlos Santana can probably still hear the Cubs fans yelling from the left-field bleachers in his head. With next to no outfield experience in his career, but no designated hitter available at Wrigley Field, the first baseman found himself playing left in Game 3 of last year's World Series.
An April assignment in an exhibition game at Chase Field was a little easier.
"Yeah, I don't have a lot of pressure like in the World Series last year," Santana said with a smile on Thursday afternoon.
In a 6-3 loss to the D-backs on Thursday night, Santana found himself in right field at Chase Field for the Indians. Cleveland returns to Phoenix for an Interleague series against Arizona on April 7-9 and -- just like in the World Series -- will not have the DH available. If the Indians want to keep Santana and Edwin Encarnacion in the lineup, Santana will need to bring an outfielder's glove to the ballpark.
Santana has been taking fly balls in the outfield during workouts at the team's complex in recent days, prepping for such a scenario.
"It was the same in the World Series last year," Santana said. "That's why I'm preparing for my team. I think I'll do a good job. It's not a surprise. If I start playing outfield and I play good, it's easier for [manager Terry Francona] during the year."
Santana had a relatively uneventful evening in right field on Thursday. Arizona's lineup sent a handful of fly balls his way, but he handled them just fine. On one towering fly off the bat of Chris Owings in the fourth, Santana appeared to get turned around as he initially broke back, but he recovered in time to settle under the ball for the catch.
When Santana started in left field in Game 3 of the World Series, Cubs slugger Kristopher Bryant drilled a pitch in his direction in the first inning. Santana caught the liner, which was jokingly referred to as a "screamer" during Thursday's session with the Tribe's manager.
"That was me screaming," Francona quipped.
Francona said he is not totally certain he will send Santana out there again when Cleveland returns to face the D-backs next weekend. The manager will continue to consider his options over the next several days.
"His attitude is, 'Hey, I'll try it,'" Francona said. "I can't see where it's going to hurt anything, and I'm proud of him for making the effort. And, you know what? Maybe he will play. Who knows? I'm not positive yet. That's a whole week away. A lot happens. But I'm really proud of him for putting the effort in and doing it. Maybe it helps us win a game that way."
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.