Smoke signals

• Francona sounded satisfied with the idea of opening the 2014 season with Santana as the team's cleanup hitter, but the manager was not willing to discuss the rest of his lineup. Francona said too much can happen between now and Opening Day, and throughout the season, to start making out a batting order.

"Things happen," Francona said. "Whether it's injuries or somebody's struggling, those types of things have a way of working themselves out. I literally don't ever make up batting orders in the winter. I think everyone thinks we're all like mad scientists, writing them on the bathroom wall and stuff. I never think of batting orders. It'll kind of write itself out."

• On Wednesday, the Indians extended Spring Training invites to six non-roster prospects: shortstop Francisco Lindor, second baseman Joe Wendle, outfielder Tyler Naquin, and catchers Tony Wolters, Jake Lowery and Roberto Perez. Francona said the experience can only benefit the Minor Leaguers.

"We'd much rather bring in our young kids," Francona said, "than bring in veteran guys that really didn't have a chance to make the team. I think it sends a couple messages. One is, if you bring in too many guys competing that really aren't competing, I don't think that's fair. So you bring in the younger kids to give them a little taste."

• Francona emphasized that there is no favorite for the fifth spot in the rotation. Carrasco, Tomlin, Bauer and Marcum will each be in the mix this spring. It was noted earlier this winter that Carrasco (out of Minor League options) will be on the 25-man roster as a starter or reliever, barring injury.

"We certainly want to see Carrasco pitch," Francona said. "I think that's a given with his stuff and things like that. He made some alterations in his delivery. He's got his arm up a little higher to create some deception. I think we'd like to kind of see him take off with that, but I don't know that we need to anoint our rotation today."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.