Francona discusses third-base battle

How the Indians third base position plays out will have a great impact on the futures of both Carlos Santana and Lonnie Chisenhall.

Manager Terry Francona knows that the decision on whether Carlos Santana or Lonnie Chisenhall will be the regular third baseman is drawing close, but Francona will let it play out as much as he can over the next couple weeks.

During his daily media availability with reporters, Francona said he would sit down with Santana sometime in the next three-to-four days and talk about what the next step would be. When asked if he ruled out Santana playing both catcher and third, Francona said he had not.

"It is a little bit uncharted waters because you don’t see guys catching and playing third in the big leagues. If he can do it then it opens up a lot of different things," Francona said. "We have to give him some time to breathe and play third. The more reps he gets the better he feels but we have an obligation to Lonnie and the rest of the team."

The reviews during games have been a little mixed. Last Sunday, he made a throwing error in his first ground ball but in the remaining three times, things have been better on the other three ground balls he has fielded. Francona has been pleased with what he has seen in Santana’s daily work at third.

Through the first eight Cactus League games, both Santana and Chisenhall have played four games. Chisenhall will get the start and bat third Friday when the Indians face the Cubs in Mesa, Ariz.

Said Francona of how Chisenhall has handled things: "He’s been himself. Even keeled. It gets interesting in the next week because that is when guys may play back-to-back days and we might not be ready to make a decision. We’re going to have to be creative. We don’t want to short them on at-bats."

David Richard/USA Today Sports

Way 2 Opening Day

Preseason baseball LIVE on SportsTime Ohio

Both players have had 11 at-bats. Santana has just two hits to Chisenhall’s three. Chisenhall has also drawn three walks.

MOUND MATTERS: Danny Salazar and Frank Herrmann saw their first action of the spring during a simulated game this morning.

TODAY’S LINEUP

Nyjer Morgan CF

Mike Aviles SS

Lonnie Chisenhall 3B

Yan Gomes C

Jason Giambi DH

Ryan Raburn LF

Jeff Francoeur RF

Elliot Johnson 2B

David Cooper 1B

PITCHING ROTATION: Carlos Carrasco, Corey Kluber, Vinnie Pestano, C.C. Lee, Bryan Price