OAKLAND -- Carlos Santana's ability to play first base is a luxury for the Indians, who can give their catcher a night off from squatting while still keeping his bat in the lineup. Eventually, the question will become whether it's more than a luxury, but a necessity. However, Manny Acta isn't ready to suggest when, or if, Santana will move permanently from behind the plate to keep him healthy.
"He's our catcher right now," Acta said on Friday. "I'm not going to speculate about what he can become in the future. That's not even discussed. He's our catcher right now." Santana, 26, has started 71 games at catcher, 17 at first base and 14 at designated hitter. As the cleanup hitter, he's a valuable cog in their lineup. They already experienced life without him in 2010, when he missed most of the season after being injured in a home-plate collision. For now, Acta sees no problem with continuing with the status quo. "Its nice," he said. "It gives you that versatility that you like to have. ... On the days I want him to rest his legs, having him at first base helps. It works for him and works for us."