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Big League Stew

Cleveland’s Carlos Santana attempting transition to third base

David Brown
Big League Stew

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Carlos Santana lost his job as the Cleveland Indians starting catcher, but it wasn't because of his bat. He hit .268/.377/.455 with 20 homers in 2013, and has produced a career .814 OPS. Santana also turns 28 in April, so Cleveland doesn't want to relegate him to being a DH-only yet. They're giving him a chance to play third base in winter ball.

So how's it going after five games? Well, Rome wasn't built in one offseason, either.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports:

Santana is hitting .350 (7-for-20) with three errors for the Leones del Escogido in the Dominican Republic. Two of the errors came in one game – one on a throw, one on a ground ball.

Mike Sarbaugh, the Indians big-league infield coach, has spent the last few days with Santana in the Dominican working with him.

“It’s still very early in the process,” said GM Chris Antonetti. “Sarbie has been down there for a few days with Carlos. He’s made a couple of errors, but so far the reports have been encouraging.

“He made two errors in one game, but he also made a nice diving play.”

The Indians will have a better feel for the situation when Sarbaugh returns to Cleveland and gives them his report.

Not only did Brazil's Yan Gomes improve the Indians behind the plate on defense in 2013 after taking over for Santana, but he also hit with power. At 26 years old, he figures to own the starting spot for a while. If the Indians can't turn Santana into a third baseman, there's still a few at-bats for him at first base, along with most of the opportunities at DH, to get him in the lineup. Fortunately for him (and the Indians), Santana can hit well enough to be valuable at those positions.

You wonder, though, if another MLB team might come along, figuring it can "fix" whatever ails Santana at catcher and move him back there. Santana has put in 304 career starts behind the plate. That's not an overwhelming amount. Are we all 100 percent sure he's not good enough to play back there?

Regardless, he can always play the guitar. Plenty of hits there!

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David Brown is an editor and a Secret Santa for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rdbrown@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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