CHICAGO -- This is a nightmare scenario for the Indians. In the span of three games, Cleveland has lost designated hitter Travis Hafner, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and catcher Carlos Santana -- the heart of the Tribe's lineup -- to injuries.
"We're not talking about a backup guy going down," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "We're talking about 3-4-5 in our lineup. Last year, it was the whole outfield plus our designated hitter. That's not very likely to happen.
"But, you have to deal with it. You have to fight. You can't throw your hands up and say, 'Here we go again.'"
Prior to Saturday afternoon's game against the White Sox, the Indians placed Santana on Major League Baseball's seven-day disabled list after the catcher was diagnosed with a mild concussion. Cabrera remained out of the lineup with tightness in his left hamstring and Hafner is in Cleveland resting a sore right knee.
Cleveland purchased the contract of catcher Luke Carlin from Triple-A Columbus to provide some depth behind backup catcher Lou Marson. In order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Carlin, the Indians transferred sidelined lefty Rafael Perez (left lat strain) to the 60-day DL, meaning he will be eligible for activation on June 25.
Santana, Cleveland's cleanup hitter, was struck in the facemask by a hard foul ball off the bat of White Sox outfielder Alex Rios in the eighth inning of Friday's 9-3 loss at U.S. Cellular Field. Over the next few days, the catcher will undergo follow-up tests before he can be cleared by MLB to return to the field.
"They're going to have to put him through those Major League tests," Acta said. "He's going to have to pass them before he comes back."
Through 43 games this season, Santana has hit .245 with five home runs, seven doubles, 24 RBIs and a .360 on-base percentage.
Carlin, 31, was hitting .227 (15-for-66) with one homer, one double and 10 RBIs through 20 games for Columbus. The switch-hitting catcher previously had a six-game stint with the Indians in 2010 and also had brief stays in the big leagues with the Padres (2008) and D-backs (2009).
"I'm definitely excited about it," Carlin said. "I'll try to take advantage of it while I'm here. This is the first first-place team I've been on, so it's exciting."
Hannahan returns to lineup
CHICAGO -- For the first time in nearly two weeks, Jack Hannahan walked into the Indians' clubhouse and found his name in the starting lineup. The third baseman was looking forward to finally trying to move beyond his persistent back issue.
"It's really frustrating not to be able to be out there with your teammates," Hannahan said on Saturday when he returned to the lineup for the Tribe's game against the White Sox. "You want to be out there competing and winning games, helping them win games. But, it's a minor setback in the big picture.
"I'm just excited to get back out there and get back out with the guys."
Hannahan missed the previous 11 games due to tightness in his lower back, but Cleveland was hesitant to place the third baseman on the disabled list. Hannahan believes that was not because the injury dragged on longer than expected, but because he was improving daily at a slow rate.
"I think it was more the fact that it was getting better every day," Hannahan said. "It just took a long time."
Indians manager Manny Acta noted that Hannahan would not play in consecutive games right away, meaning the third baseman will likely be out of the lineup on Sunday in Chicago. The Tribe wants to be cautious for now in how it handles Hannahan, who was hitting .287 with three home runs, six doubles and 18 RBIs through 30 games this season.
Right now, Cleveland's backup third baseman is Jose Lopez, who played well in Hannahan's absence. Entering Saturday, Lopez was hitting .316 (12-for-38) with one home run, four doubles and seven RBIs in his last 11 games for the Tribe. Hannahan was happy to see Lopez step up like that over the last two weeks.
"Absolutely," Hannahan said. "Jose, he's a veteran. I played with him in Seattle. He jumped in there and didn't miss a beat. He played good defense and came up with big hits and big RBIs. The guy played great."
Cabrera day to day with tight hamstring
CHICAGO -- Indians manager Manny Acta hoped to find a game to give shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera some rest, but these were not the circumstances he had in mind.
On Saturday, Cabrera was out of Cleveland's starting lineup due to tightness in his left hamstring. Acta said the All-Star shortstop is considered day to day with the injury, but the Indians are not sure when he will return to the field.
"We don't have a timetable for it," Acta said prior to Saturday's game against the White Sox. "We'll have a better idea tomorrow when he shows up to work."
Cabrera tweaked his hamstring while making a play in the field during Friday's 9-3 loss to the White Sox, while making his 31st consecutive start at shortstop for the Indians. Through 39 games this season, the switch-hitting Cabrera has hit at a .301 clip with five home runs, 14 doubles, 20 RBIs and 23 runs scored.
With Cabrera out of the lineup on Saturday, Acta gave the nod to 23-year-old shortstop Juan Diaz, who was promoted from Double-A Akron prior to Friday's game. Diaz replaced Cabrera in the field in the seventh inning of Friday's game and then struck out in his first Major League at-bat in the eighth.
The Indians initially recalled Diaz to have an extra infielder on hand for a few days while third baseman (and backup shortstop) Jack Hannahan worked through a minor back injury. Hannahan returned to the lineup as the Indians' third baseman on Saturday.
Quote to note
"It's almost impossible to go through a whole season without having to go through some adversity. This is our time to go through it.
--Indians manager Manny Acta, on the slew of recent injuries
• Indians manager Manny Acta indicated that designated hitter Travis Hafner (sore knee) is scheduled to take part in some baseball activities when the team returns to Cleveland on Monday. At that point, Cleveland will assess whether Hafner is recovered enough to return to the starting lineup.
• Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis (a native of Northbrook, Ill.) went 2-for-3 with one walk and two stolen bases in Friday's 9-3 loss in Chicago. With that showing, Kipnis improved to .476 (10-for-21) with three extra-base hits, three stolen bases and five RBIs in six career games at U.S. Cellular Field.
• Lefty Rafael Perez (strained left lat) was placed on the 15-day disabled list on April 27 and moved to the 60-day DL on Saturday. Perez, who will be eligible for activation on June 25, was working through a long toss program earlier this week, according to manager Manny Acta.