"It's going to get a little interesting for me here in the next week or so," Francona said. "That's when guys start playing back-to-back days, and we may not be certainly ready to make a decision [about third base]. So we're going to have to be a little creative, because I don't want to short either one of them at-bats."
Asked when Santana might add catching back to the equation, Francona did not have a clear answer.
"I would say in the next three or four days, we're going to sit down and talk through it," Francona said. "It's a little bit of uncharted waters. You don't see anybody playing third and catching in the big leagues, but if he's able to do it, it opens up a lot of different things. The first thing we're going to do is sit and talk."
Santana has looked more comfortable at third base during workouts than in Cactus League games up to this point, but Francona said the team is more focused on the effort behind the scenes. The manager said there has not been enough in game scenarios yet to properly evaluate Santana's progress.
"Carlos looks fine," Francona said. "If he is the third baseman, you're not going to know how he handles it until he's asked to handle it. How many balls have been hit to him? Four? That's just not a fair sample size. You almost hope people hit balls to him.
"But then, if he makes an error in Goodyear, do you say, 'Oh, he can't be our third baseman?' I think we go more on his daily work and things like that. That's all been really good."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.