Chisenhall willing to take on challenges of first base
CHICAGO -- Indians manager Terry Francona hinted before Tuesday's game that Lonnie Chisenhall might see more time at first while Nick Swisher is on the disabled list. It happened even quicker than expected when Chisenhall pinch-hit for Jesus Aguilar in the fourth inning of Tuesday's game and took Aguilar's spot at first thereafter.
"I had no qualms about playing him at first," Francona said. "Again, I think that's that little bit transformation of Lonnie, that he welcomes whatever."
Francona would also have a hard time not getting Chisenhall's bat in the lineup. Chisenhall was hitting .370 with a .966 OPS in 40 games, entering play Wednesday night.
"I don't doubt he'll work his way into an outfield one of these games," Francona said. "Something crazy will happen and we'll have to stick him out there and he'll do fine, and if he doesn't, he'll bounce back. I just think that he's at a point in his growth where he is liking challenges. I think he's viewing them as ways to get in the game, ways to help us win, as opposed to, 'Well, why am I not playing today?'"
Francona also lauded Chisenhall's work ethic, explaining that the former first-round pick has been working hard to correct his struggles in the field. Chisenhall has eight errors at third this year.
Chisenhall said he's confident he can master first, but understands there will be a learning curve. That especially applies to bunts and weakly hit balls down the first base, for which he'll have to decide to either charge the ball or cover first.
"I know there's going to be some instances where I'm going to have to make a decision on the fly or learn after that fact," he said. "It's just a matter of getting those reps over there and let things happen."
Chisenhall moved over to first base in the eighth inning of Wednesday's 3-2 loss and couldn't come up with Mike Aviles' errant throw in the ninth, which set up Chicago's winning rally.