CLE@BAL: Santana crushes a two-run homer

ARLINGTON -- Carlos Santana is over the mild concussion that shelved him for more than a week. Standing at his locker in the visitors' clubhouse Friday, the Indians third baseman said he was finally symptom-free and ready to play.

"The only thing I feel in my head is excitement," Santana said.

Cleveland stuck to its plan for Carlos Santana, activating him from Major League Baseball's seven-day concussion list prior to Friday's game against the Rangers. Santana was slotted into the lineup's eighth spot as the Tribe's designated hitter for his first game back with the team.

In order to add Santana to the active roster, Cleveland optioned first-base prospect Jesus Aguilar to Triple-A Columbus, where he can get regular at-bats rather than residing on the big league bench. With Lonnie Chisenhall seeing action at both first and third base, Aguilar saw playing time during Santana's stay on the DL.

Indians manager Terry Francona said Santana can still be used at a variety of positions

"He's passed all the tests. He's gone out and caught a bullpen," Francona said. "He's done everything. He's done a realy good job. We could certainly play him at first, we could play him at third, we could catch him."

Santana -- Cleveland's primary backup to starting catcher Yan Gomes -- took a foul ball off the mask during the Indians' 4-2 loss to the Orioles on May 25 in Baltimore. The following day, Santana was a late scratch from the lineup due to feeling ill, which the Tribe then determined was a symptom of a concussion.

The Indians placed Santana on the seven-day concussion list on May 27 and gradually reintroduced baseball activities to his workouts. During Cleveland's recent homestand, Santana advanced through fielding, hitting and running drills, passing the required tests for activation.

"It was terrible. I felt dizzy. My head hurt," Santana said. "But I am prepared. I came early to the field and I tried to get better every day."

Through 50 games this season, the 28-year-old Santana has hit just .159 with six home runs, seven doubles, 17 RBIs and 43 walks for the Tribe. In the four games prior to being shelved, though, the switch-hitter showed signs of offensive life, batting .333 (4-for-12) with one homer, two doubles, four RBIs and six walks.

By optioning Aguilar, the team's 16th-ranked prospect, to Triple-A, Cleveland kept three catchers -- Gomes, Santana and Kottaras -- on the roster. With first baseman Nick Swisher (left knee) still on the 15-day DL, the Indians can use Santana as an option at first and third base, along with designated hitter, limiting his action behind the plate for the time being.

Salazar struggles about mechanics, triceps injury

MIN@CLE: Salazar holds Twins to three, fans seven

ARLINGTON -- There might be more than flawed mechanics to blame for Danny Salazar's struggles on the mound this season for the Indians.

Salazar, who was recently placed on the Minor League disabled list with a right triceps injury, dealt with a similar health issue during Spring Training. During the preseason, the discomfort was extremely mild, but it did play at least a minor role in Cleveland being cautious with the righty's spring workload.

"We just had to maintain it and treat it," Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway said. "But it wasn't overly concerning."

The 24-year-old Salazar posted a 3.12 ERA with 65 strikeouts in 52 innings in 10 outings for Cleveland last year, when he was also got the nod to start the American League Wild Card Game. After a gradual progression through Spring Training this year, Salazar was slotted into the Opening Day rotation, but did not have the same kind of success.

In eight starts prior to being optioned to Triple-A Columbus, Salazar went 1-4 with a 5.53 ERA in 40 2/3 innings, in which he had 47 strikeouts, 17 walks, eight home runs allowed and a .301 opponents' batting average. In three starts at Triple-A, Salazar went 0-3 with a 7.11 ERA in 12 2/3 innings before landing on the disabled list.

"We started Danny slow this spring just out of precaution," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "I think when he went home [to the Dominican Republic over the offseason], we should've probably stayed on him a little more. So, when he came to Spring Training, we decided, 'OK, we'll start him a little slow.' That was really all it was."

Smoke signals

• Indians first baseman Nick Swisher, who is on the 15-day disabled list due to a left knee injury, is with the team in Texas, but is scheduled to head back to Cleveland on Sunday in preparation for a Minor League rehab assignment. Barring any setbacks, Swisher is slated to play on Tuesday and Wednesday with Double-A Akron prior to potentially being activated by the Tribe.

"Again, we'll make sure everything is OK and hopefully he'll be good to go," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We told him that the biggest key is that he's good to go, not a specific time frame. He feels pretty good."

• Francona was saddened to learn that baseball icon Don Zimmer passed away on Wednesday. During Francona's only season with the Cubs in 1986, Zimmer served as the third-base coach. Francona maintained a long friendship with Zimmer in the following years.

"He's one of my all-time favorites," Francona said. "And if I say he's one of my all-time favorite people, I'd have to get in a long line. I'd bet you everybody is saying that. He's part of what makes baseball, baseball. I loved him."

• Francona noted on Friday that injured outfielder Nyjer Morgan (right knee sprain), who was transferred to the 60-day disabled list on May 22, is currently doing his rehab at the club's complex in Goodyear, Ariz. Morgan is expected to be sidelined until around mid-July.