On Tuesday afternoon, Terry Francona told MLB.com reporter Jordan Bastian that Carlos Santana, the Indians' primary catcher for the past four years, will open the season as the starting third baseman. Lonnie Chisenhall, the man in competition with Santana for the starting spot this spring, is still on the major league roster but his immediate future concerning where he'll play is still to be decided upon.
Bastian's tweets fill in the details:
Francona said today that Santana is the Tribe's third baseman. It won't be a platoon situation with Chisenhall. Santana also backup catcher.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) March 25, 2014
How Chisenhall will be used remains fluid. He will likely see ABs at third base when Santana catches. Can also DH, or come off bench as PH.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) March 25, 2014
When the Tribe decided to experiment with Santana at third base this off-season, playing him at the position during the Dominican winter league, I was skeptical. He has however been quite impressive during spring training and much better than I expected (2 errors in 71 innings. Chisenhall also had 2 errors, in 83 innings). Santana hasn't played third base since 2008 when he was at Single-A, before his trade from the Dodgers to Cleveland.
This raises a lot of questions about Lonnie Chisenhall. What position will he play? Will the Indians consider converting him to the outfield? Does he have the bat to be a DH? Whatever the outcome, Lonnie's playing time is set to take a significant hit with this news.