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Chisenhall earning more at-bats with hot hitting

CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona headed into this season unsure of how much playing time Lonnie Chisenhall would receive. If the third baseman keeps hitting the way he has early on, Francona will continue to find him at-bats.

On Sunday, Chisenhall was in the lineup for Cleveland for the third straight game, but Francona had moved the left-handed hitter up to the sixth spot from the ninth hole. With Twins right-hander Ricky Nolasco on the mound, Francona felt it was a good opportunity to get Chisenhall some more time on the field.

"He's swung the bat well," Francona said prior to Sunday's game. "He's had about half the at-bats, but he's done a good job. We're looking for offense, and with [Mike] Aviles playing today, we're trying to keep some balance in the lineup. So we're hitting [Chisenhall] behind Michael Brantley. I think he deserves it."

Chisenhall started as the designated hitter, which is a role he could fill more routinely this season now that Carlos Santana is handling the bulk of the time at third base. Francona noted last week that Ryan Raburn could also see more at-bats as the DH this season, especially against left-handed pitching.

Entering Sunday's game against the Twins, Chisenhall was 4-for-8 at the plate with two doubles, three runs scored and one walk. In 94 games for the Indians last season, the 25-year-old third baseman hit at a .225 clip with 11 homers, 17 doubles and 36 RBIs.

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