GOODYEAR, Ariz.: Carlos Santana kind of knew all along: The Dominican Republic was going to prevail as champion of the World Baseball Classic.
“I knew we would win,” the Indians catcher said Friday. “Dominicans play together. We didn’t have a lot of star players, but we played together.”
Santana’s definition of star players might be different than most observers, but Robinson Cano, Hanley Ramirez and Jose Reyes would be on most lists. And they were very accommodating to Santana, one of the younger members of the team.
“They help me a lot,” he said. “Guys like Cano, they talk to me. And [manager] Tony Pena is a good guy, too. He helped me with my catching, about communicating with the pitchers. He was always positive. Everything was positive.”
Santana caught seven of eight games, all wins. He did not hit for a high average, but he blasted two home runs.
Manager Terry Francona is happy to have Santana back. The only thing he believes that Santana missed: “We have to make sure that everyone is on the same page with our signs,” Francona said.
Jason Kipnis missed his third game in a row Friday night with tenderness in his right elbow.
“I don’t think it’s serious at all,” he said. “Right now we have the luxury of resting it. Otherwise, I’d be in there.”
Said Francona: “He’s doing better. He’s hitting in the cage. He won’t play tomorrow, but we’ll see about Sunday.”
Kipnis was asked if he received a specific diagnosis from doctors.
“I won’t change their tender elbow [description],” he said. “I’m not going to make it more masculine.”
Gomes getting close
Yan Gomes (leg injury) is expected to be ready to play before the end of the weekend.
“He’s doing real well,” Francona said. “I don’t know if we’ll add him to the travel roster for tomorrow, but he’ll definitely be available Sunday.”
Perez on mound
Chris Perez (shoulder strain) will throw in a minor-league game today, but Francona isn’t ready to say the closer will be ready on Opening Day.
“I’m trying to keep to the party line,” the manager said. “I don’t want to put in an artificial deadline. When he’s ready to pitch, he’ll pitch.”
The Indians travel to Peoria today to play the Mariners. Scott Kazmir will start against Blake Beavan. The game will be aired by the MLB Network at 4 p.m.