Chisenhall striving to earn more at-bats
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Lonnie Chisenhall is trying not to worry too much about Cleveland's plans to try catcher Carlos Santana at third base this spring. Chisenhall knows the only thing under his control is his performance and preparation.
Chisenhall can do little about what has happened in the past, or the way the Indians view his future.
"There have been more bumps in the the road than I have wanted," Chisenhall said on Tuesday. "But, I'm still young. I know what I can do for the Cleveland Indians, and I know what I can do at third base."
As camp opens for the Tribe, Chisenhall is being given the chance to once again earn the bulk of the at-bats at third base. Cleveland is also going to take a close look at Santana at third, especially now that Yan Gomes has emerged as the team's new starting catcher.
Over the offseason, Santana worked at the hot corner during winter ball in the Dominican Republic. Former Major Leaguer Fernando Tatis helped Santana with the transition, and Cleveland's former No. 1 catcher said Seattle's Robinson Cano and Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion both offered positive feedback after seeing him play the hot corner.
"Everybody was surprised in the Dominican," Santana said. "It's been good. It feels good. I went there to the Dominican, and I felt good. I worked hard all the time. The team hasn't made a decision yet, but I'm doing whatever they say."
Santana, who wore his infield glove while chatting with reporters, said he still wants to catch, but is willing to take on whatever role Cleveland offers. All that is known right now is that the switch-hitter will be a regular part of the Indians lineup, whether that is as a catcher, first baseman, third baseman or designated hitter.
The left-handed-hitting Chisenhall knows that one scenario could include him handling right-handed pitching and Santana subbing at third against lefties. Last year, Chisenhall hit .111 (4-for-36) against southpaws and the Indians and manager Terry Francona limited him to only one at-bat against left-handers in September. Chisenhall responded by hitting .270 with a .920 OPS in the final month.
"I'd love to have all the at-bats," said Chisenhall, who hit .225 in 94 games last season. "At the same time, I have to earn them. ... I've platooned all three years so far, so I definitely need to earn the at-bats and put up quality at-bats."