Smoke signals

• Francona said the best way to properly evaluate Carlos Santana at third base is to put his past as a catcher to the side for the time being. Cleveland is giving Santana the opportunity this spring to show he can be a viable option at the hot corner, if only as a part-time addition to his positional repertoire.

"I think the only fair way to do it is to evaluate him as a third baseman," Francona said. "Our goal is to have the best third baseman, not the best converted guy that's a third baseman. Who can help us win games the most? What's our best ballclub?"

• Francona's affinity for veteran Jason Giambi has been well documented since Spring Training a year ago. The manager highly values what the 43-year-old slugger bring to the clubhouse, but he does not want anyone to forget Giambi's importance on the field, either.

"That's why we have coaches," Francona said. "But his ability to change the game with one swing and then, when he's not in the batter's box, help change the game for the better, is invaluable. He's one of a kind. The more we lean on him, the better off we are, and he knows how we feel."

• Cleveland will play an intrasquad "B" game on Friday and Saturday. John Axford, Salazar, Frank Herrmann, Colt Hynes and Marc Rzepczynski are slated to pitch on Friday. Zach McAllister, David Aardsma, Josh Outman and Preston Guilmet are penciled in for Saturday.

• Right-handed starter Shaun Marcum, who is returning from July surgery to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome, remains limited to bullpen sessions for the Indians. The non-roster invitee is scheduled to throw off a mound again on Saturday.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for 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.