"We're not talking about a backup guy going down," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "We're talking about 3-4-5 in our lineup. Last year, it was the whole outfield plus our designated hitter. That's not very likely to happen.
"But, you have to deal with it. You have to fight. You can't throw your hands up and say, 'Here we go again.'"
Prior to Saturday afternoon's game against the White Sox, the Indians placed Santana on Major League Baseball's seven-day disabled list after the catcher was diagnosed with a mild concussion. Cabrera remained out of the lineup with tightness in his left hamstring and Hafner is in Cleveland resting a sore right knee.
Cleveland purchased the contract of catcher Luke Carlin from Triple-A Columbus to provide some depth behind backup catcher Lou Marson. In order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Carlin, the Indians transferred sidelined lefty Rafael Perez (left lat strain) to the 60-day DL, meaning he will be eligible for activation on June 25.
Santana, Cleveland's cleanup hitter, was struck in the facemask by a hard foul ball off the bat of White Sox outfielder Alex Rios in the eighth inning of Friday's 9-3 loss at U.S. Cellular Field. Over the next few days, the catcher will undergo follow-up tests before he can be cleared by MLB to return to the field.
"They're going to have to put him through those Major League tests," Acta said. "He's going to have to pass them before he comes back."
Through 43 games this season, Santana has hit .245 with five home runs, seven doubles, 24 RBIs and a .360 on-base percentage.
Carlin, 31, was hitting .227 (15-for-66) with one homer, one double and 10 RBIs through 20 games for Columbus. The switch-hitting catcher previously had a six-game stint with the Indians in 2010 and also had brief stays in the big leagues with the Padres (2008) and D-backs (2009).
"I'm definitely excited about it," Carlin said. "I'll try to take advantage of it while I'm here. This is the first first-place team I've been on, so it's exciting."