Santana not yet able to loosen back

First baseman misses third straight game Tuesday

Santana not yet able to loosen back

CHICAGO -- Indians first baseman Carlos Santana missed his third straight game on Tuesday night because of back spasms, but manager Terry Francona said Santana is progressing.

"Much improved," Francona said before the second game of the series against the White Sox. "I think the hope would be that we have him available off the bench tonight. Don't know if we're there yet. We'll see how the day goes."

At this point, the Indians don't believe Santana's back is anything to be concerned about.

"They're working on him a bunch and he's doing better," Francona said. "We've got to get him to the point where he feels he won't set himself back."

Santana entered Tuesday hitting .220, with four home runs and 20 RBIs, in 35 games. He did not appear in the Tribe's 3-1 victory.

John Jackson is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.