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Spring Training Notes 3/4: Carlos Santana named everyday first baseman

By splitting time with Mike Napoli, Carlos Santana logged 64 games at first base in 2016. Manager Terry Francona expects Santana to play even more at the corner infield position with Edwin Encarnacion assuming designated hitter duties for the majority of the upcoming 2017 campaign.

When Edwin Encarnacion was inked to a record-setting deal, there was question as to whether or not he would play in the field.

That question was answered by Terry Francona on Saturday afternoon.

The Tribe skipper plans to keep Carlos Santana at first base, a position he has transitioned to since playing catcher from 2010-14. As a result, Encarnacion will solely focus on hitting and be the club's everyday designated hitter.

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- With Santana booking his flight for Marlins Park and the World Baseball Classic next week, Francona made sure to clarify his opening day role on the defensive side of the ball. On occasion, Santana and Encarnacion will swap between first base and designated hitter, but Santana is reportedly expected to "play significantly more" than his 556.2 innings from last year.

- The countdown for Corey Kluber's spring training debut is less than two days away, per MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. If all goes as planned, the 2014 AL Cy Young winner will toss the first three innings on Monday at 3:05 PM ET against the Milwaukee Brewers. 

- Both Michael Brantley (right shoulder) and Jason Kipnis (right shoulder) took on-field batting practice with no issues on Saturday. Brantley's session was his first back-to-back this spring while Kipnis returned after six days of limited activity at camp.

- Hoby Milner has reportedly been working on a two-seam fastball since being selected by the Indians with the 15th pick in the Rule 5 Draft last December. The 26-year-old claims MLB baseballs have more movement and make a two-seam offering even more effective than it would be in the minor leagues. 

John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.


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