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Santana ready to field ground balls with infielders

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Carlos Santana will take on a new look for the Indians during Monday's workout. Rather than head out to the practice fields wearing his catching gear, Santana will slip on his third baseman's glove and work at the hot corner.

With Yan Gomes taking over as the Tribe's starting catcher, Cleveland is working with Santana on a possible transition to third base this spring. Santana began the move over the offseason during winter ball in the Dominican Republic and will continue to test his skill at third base in the coming weeks.

For the past few days of camp, Santana has caught bullpen sessions and run through drills only with the other catchers.

"He's been going out early in the morning and taking ground balls," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "In fairness to him, and to his body, we wanted him to get back in familiarity with squatting and doing the drills and fundamentals, but now we'll let him go out and kind of exclusively for a while play the infield."

The Indians have not painted the situation as Santana being in competition with Lonnie Chisenhall at third base. Instead, Cleveland has indicated that it is simply trying to see if third base is another position Santana can add to his mix. The switch-hitting catcher can also serve as a part-time first baseman and designated hitter for the Indians.

Right now, Francona does not have a specific number of spring games in mind for Santana as a third baseman.

"I really don't," Francona said. "He's been told that he has to earn the playing time at third. If he's our best third baseman, we'll revisit this as we go."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian.
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