ST. PETERSBURG -- Terry Francona hasn't managed in the National League since his days with the Phillies, but he showed Saturday night that he's not opposed to breaking into an NL-style game.
When Lou Marson had to leave Saturday's game with a cervical (neck) strain, Francona moved Carlos Santana from designated hitter to catcher and spent the rest of the game without a DH. He let starter Trevor Bauer bat once and used a double-switch to avoid sending up a reliever in the late innings. Francona said it wasn't his first time burning the DH spot, and it probably won't be his last.
"I'm sure it's happened. That's not that rare," Francona said. "And with Santana, because of his bat, that could happen more. If we pinch-hit for Lou or you pinch-run for somebody, that could happen again -- just not because of injury, and it would certainly be later in the game.
"You can protect yourselves to the point where that will never happen and not give yourself the best chance to win all year. That doesn't make sense to me."