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Francona keeping tabs on Chisenhall in Minors

ARLINGTON -- When third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall makes his return to Cleveland, the Indians want it to be for good.

Indians manager Terry Francona had a 45-minute discussion this week with Triple-A Columbus manager Chris Tremie to check up on Chisenhall's progress in the Minors. Francona said on Wednesday that the reports are that Chisenhall has been inconsistent defensively, but off the charts in the batter's box.

Francona would not say whether Chisenhall might have a return trip to the Tribe in the near future.

"I don't know if we have a timetable," Francona said. "I do know that the object of when we sent him down was for it to help. It wasn't punishment. So we want to make sure when he comes back, that he has a base to be successful. That's kind of how we looked at it."

The Indians optioned the 24-year-old Chisenhall -- their Opening Day third baseman this season -- to Triple-A on May 13 after he hit just .213 (20-for-94) in 26 games. At the time of his demotion, Francona said the idea was to give Chisenhall "a deep breath" before bringing him back to the big leagues.

With the Clippers, Chisenhall has been breathing easy.

Through 23 games at Triple-A, the left-handed-swinging Chisenhall has hit at a .402 (37-for-92) clip with six home runs and 24 RBIs. The third baseman has collected 11 walks, 14 extra-base hits and 19 runs scored. In the field, Chisenhall has made eight errors.

Francona reiterated that the Indians want Chisenhall to stick in the Majors after he is brought up again.

"Yeah, we sent him down to help," Francona said, "because we think he's going to be one of our [key players]. He's still really young and there's too much to like. This has happened to a lot of players. To his credit, he's gone down there and he's working hard and getting his hits and getting better. That's good."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian.
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