Santana willing to play outfield again if needed

Tribe plans to keep veteran at first base and DH

Santana willing to play outfield again if needed

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Carlos Santana has shown an increased willingness to do whatever Indians manager Terry Francona asks of him. That included starting in left field for a pair of games in last year's World Series, due to not having the designated hitter available in Wrigley Field.

This spring, Santana has let Francona know he is still willing to play the outfield, if asked.

"I'm not planning on doing that," Francona said on Wednesday. "I wasn't planning on doing it in the World Series, either."

As things currently stand, Santana will split his time between first base and DH with slugger Edwin Encarnacion, who was signed to a three-year, $60 million contract over the offseason. It will be a similar arrangement to last season, when Santana and Mike Napoli (now with Texas) each rotated between those spots. For Games 3 and 5 in the World Series, though, Santana started in left so his bat could stay in the lineup.

Outlook: Santana, 1B, CLE

Francona said he does not plan on sending Santana to the outfield for any reps, for at least the early portion of Spring Training. The manager did not rule out giving Santana some minimal exposure later in camp, just to get him some work at that position. So, while there are questions surrounding the status of left fielder Michael Brantley (right biceps surgery in August), Santana is not being viewed as a replacement.

Even so, Francona appreciates Santana offering to help.

"It's nice to know that he's very willing to do that. It's amazing to me, his attitude," Francona said. "You don't see veterans [say that]. He just seems like he's in a good place, and it's fun to be around him. He likes what he's doing."

Santana said he will stay prepared for anything.

"That happened last year in the World Series," Santana said. "If he needs me to play, I'll be ready."

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for 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.