Santana 'much better,' but sits out after scare

DH hit in head Thursday by Lindor's line-drive foul ball

Santana 'much better,' but sits out after scare

CLEVELAND -- If it were not for the red mark above Carlos Santana's right ear, it would be hard to tell that he had been struck by a line drive. On Friday afternoon, one day after a scary moment at Progressive Field, the Indians' designated hitter was feeling better and hoping to be back in the lineup soon.

There are still hurdles for Santana to clear before that will be possible.

"The doctor's not convinced he has a concussion," Indians manager Terry Francona said before Friday's game against the Angels. "Saying that, we're not going to play him. Like I said last night, I think you err on the side of caution."

In the fifth inning of Thursday's 14-4 win over Los Angeles, Francisco Lindor sent a foul ball into the Indians' dugout down the third-base line. Santana, who was sitting on an elevated bench behind the railing, tried to duck out of the way, but was hit on the head by the line drive. He tumbled to the ground and needed to be helped to the clubhouse by a pair of team athletic trainers.

Francona did not rule out the possibility of placing Santana on Major League Baseball's seven-day concussion list, but noted that the decision would not happen Friday. During pregame, Santana played catch and was scheduled to take part in a number of other activities. Cleveland's medical staff will monitor how he reacts to increased volume and effort over these couple of days.

Francona indicated after Thursday's win that Santana showed improvement throughout the night, and the DH was in good spirits one day later.

"I feel much better than last night," Santana said. "I remember everything. I can't move any faster [away] from the ball, but I'll be OK. I'm getting better all the time. I have to wait to see the doctor. We'll see what happens. And I'll do a couple activities today, and we'll see."

Francona said it was good to see Santana acting like himself in the clubhouse.

"That was kind of scary for everybody," Francona said of Santana being hit by the foul ball. "He looks really good. It doesn't mean he doesn't have a concussion, but it's just nice to see him walking around, smiling."

With Santana out of the lineup on Friday, Francona gave Lindor a day as the DH and started Michael Martinez at shortstop. The manager said it was an opportunity to give Lindor, who has played nearly every inning this season, a chance to rest his legs a little.

Lindor, who felt "terrible" about what happened, said Thursday night that he headed into the clubhouse between each inning to check on Santana. The DH said that continued into Friday.

"Last night, and this morning, and every 5-10 minutes we talk," Santana said with a smile. "I was happy, because I got the ball. I want him to sign it, and I'll put it in my house."

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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.