ANAHEIM -- Indians manager Manny Acta can comfortably pencil his catcher/first baseman/designated hitter Carlos Santana into a variety of slots in his lineup. Left field isn't one of them.
But with a depleted bench in the sixth inning of a 14-1 drubbing at the hands of the Red Sox Sunday, Acta found himself writing "7" next to Santana's name to prevent having a position player toe the rubber. That sent the 26-year-old to the outfield for the first time in his Major League career.
"I asked him, how long has it been," Acta said. "He said, 'It's been a while. ... But if there's a ball out there, I'll catch it.'"
It had been a while -- six years to be exact -- since Santana saw in-game action on the outfield grass. That came in 2008 with Class A Inland Empire. He played three games in right field for the 66ers that season.
In fact, it had been so long since Santana had needed something other than a first baseman's glove or catcher's mitt that he had to borrow a glove from pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez.
It served him well. Santana reeled in both fly balls hit to him, a feat that left quite the impression on his once-skeptical manager.
"Did you see him go after the first one? Backpedaling the whole way?" Acta said laughing. "It was interesting. ... Very athletic."