Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Santana plays right field in 6-3 loss to Arizona

In an effort to maximize his playing time at National League ballparks, Carlos Santana played right field for the first time in his professional career on Thursday. The IBI's John Alfes recaps the Tribe's second-to-last spring training contest...

Summary

Taijuan Walker has been nothing short of spectacular when facing the Indians during his four-year major league tenure.

Entering play, Cleveland hitters were batting .145 (8-for-55) vs. Walker with three extra-base hits and two runs scored during regular season competition.

The noticeable trend of struggles continued on Thursday evening.

Playing within the confines of a big league stadium for the first time this spring, the Tribe was unable to rally back from a five-run deficit and fell 6-3 to the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.

Carlos Santana and Yandy Diaz registered a pair of two-hit performances, but Chris Narveson was unable to keep the Arizona offense at bay.

Narveson takes third loss

It has been a Cactus League to forget for Narveson, a 35-year-old non-roster invitee who was viewed as more of a veteran presence to the younger players on the roster. 

Narveson allowed five runs (four earned) on five hits, one of which was a two-run triple off the bat of Jake Lamb to extend the home team's lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the fifth. Yasmany Tomas knocked his teammate in on a sacrifice fly to spell the end to what figures to be Narveson's final start with the defending American League champions.

Diaz rolls along

Hours after receiving word of his MLB designation to begin the season, Diaz stayed red hot at the plate by singling and scoring in the sixth before lacing an RBI single in the seventh.

"We tested him a lot and there's an opportunity, and it looks like he deserves it," Terry Francona said to reporters earlier in the day.

Michael Brantley's final spring training appearance went just as smoothly thanks to a single and RBI groundout. Nothing has been confirmed, but Brantley appears to be a likely candidate to make the Opening Day lineup.

"He's feeling good," said Francona after the game. "I don't want him to do more than the other guys. That's not fair, either. But, I think he's doing fine. And, more importantly, he feels good about himself."

Aside from his two hits and one run scored, Santana successfully played right field for the first time in his professional career by making four putouts.

"I thought he did great," Francona said. "I'm proud of him for wanting him to [play right field] and putting the effort into it. He looked good."

Zach McAllister threw a scoreless sixth frame as the only hurler on the active roster to make an appearance.

"We're still working on things," said Francona about McAllister's refined delivery and his efforts in controlling the running game. "I think for him to throw a couple of those fastballs through the zone like he did was really helpful."

Up next

The Indians and Diamondbacks wrap up their two-game series on Friday night at 9:40 PM ET from Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.

Travis Banwart is scheduled for his first start of 2017 opposite southpaw Robbie Ray.

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.


Indians Baseball Insider Top Stories