Carlos Santana will be playing for the Leones del Escogido (Lions) against the Tigres del Licey (Tigers) in the championship series of the Dominican Winter League, beginning this evening. Santana, as you have probably heard, has been playing third base this offseason, in an attempt to make himself a viable option there for the Indians in 2014. After struggling with defense early on, he's shown some improvement recently, and been praised by coaches for both his effort and the progress he's made. While speaking of the upcoming MLB season, Santana said "I think I can play third base."
Tribe fans curious to get a look at Santana playing the hot corner and baseball fans itching for some actual games to watch while we wait for spring training to begin should be excited to know that the entire DWL Championship (a best-of-9 series) will be available live and online at ESPN3, a free streaming channel that can be found here.
Here's the full schedule for the series (all times Eastern):
More from Let's Go Tribe
More from Let's Go Tribe
Game 1: Monday, 1/20 at 7:35 PM
Game 2: Tuesday, 1/21 at 5:05 PM
Game 3: Wednesday, 1/22 at 7:35 PM
Game 4: Thursday, 1/23 at 7:35 PM
Game 5: Friday, 1/24 at 7:35 PM
Game 6: Sunday, 1/26 at 5:05 PM*
Game 7: Monday, 1/27 at 7:35 PM*
Game 8: Tuesday, 1/28 at 5:05 PM*
Game 9: Wednesday, 1/29 at 7:35 PM*
Among Santana's teammates on the Leones are Pirates rising star Starling Marte, Twins shortstop Pedro Florimon, and former Rays closer Fernando Rodney. The Tigers roster includes Jose Contreras Esmil Rogers, Erick Aybar, and Jurickson Profar.
The Leones have won 16 Dominican titles, inclduing the last 3. They used to be managed by Felipe Alou.Former players include all three Alou brothers, Juan Marichal, Tim Raines, Sammy Sosa, Francisco Liriano, and Julio Franco.
The Tigres have won 20 titles, most recently in 2009. They were managed for part of the 1970s by Hall of Fame skipper Tommy Lasorda. Former players include Alex Rodriguez, Bob Gibson, Mike Piazza, Vladimir Guererro, Mark McGwire, Willie Wilson, and Ubaldo Jimenez.
These will be the best games played since the World Series ended, and until spring training gets underway or perhaps Opening Day, depending on your perspective. I won't be able to watch tonight, but plan to catch at least part of most of the games, and will be sure to drop any updates on Santana into the comments. If you're watching, please share your reactions as well.