ST. PETERSBURG -- Indians catcher Lou Marson left Saturday night's game against the Rays after the third inning with a cervical/neck strain after getting hit hard in a collision at home plate.
Marson said after the game that he did not sustain a concussion on the play, but his neck was still sore, making it difficult to look from side to side or up and down. Indians manager Terry Francona said the club would continue to evaluate Marson, who didn't expect the injury to keep him off the field for long.
After drawing a leadoff walk then stealing second and third, Rays center fielder Desmond Jennings sprinted toward home on Matt Joyce's grounder to third base. Lonnie Chisenhall fielded the ball and fired it to Marson, and Jennings ran straight into the 26-year-old catcher, resulting in a violent collision that clearly shook up Marson. Both sides agreed it was just a good, clean baseball play and that Jennings had no other way of getting to home plate.
"Neck's a little sore. He got me pretty good. It was clean, absolutely. He had nowhere to go," Marson said. "I had the plate blocked pretty good. But just my neck's a little sore. No concussions."
Marson held on to the ball to record the out and save the Indians a run, and he remained in the game to finish the third inning after taking a few warmup throws from right-hander Trevor Bauer. But Francona took Marson out of the game before the Tribe took the field for the fourth inning.
"If there's a gray area, I'd rather be accused of being overly cautious," Francona said.
Carlos Santana moved from designated hitter to catcher as the Indians gave up their DH, which resulted in Bauer assuming the ninth spot in the lineup and eventually getting an at-bat.
That was the risk Francona took in starting Santana at DH on Saturday after he caught all of the Tribe's first four games. An injury to Santana at that point would've resulted in Ryan Raburn lining up behind the dish.
"I think it's the right thing to do as far as our team goes, but you run the risk of that when you do that," Francona said.
Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.