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Chisenhall could shift to LF on return from DL

Indians RF will play all 3 outfield spots during injury rehab
MLB.com @MLBastian

MINNEAPOLIS -- Six years ago, Lonnie Chisenhall stood in left field for the Indians for precisely one pitch. That is the extent of his experience at the position, which may now be Chisenhall's way back to the roster when he is deemed ready to come off the disabled list.

Prior to Tuesday's game against the Twins, manager Terry Francona noted that Chisenhall will play all three outfield positions in a Minor League rehab assignment, beginning with right field on Tuesday for Triple-A Columbus. After that, Chisenhall will get at least two games in left field before possibly mixing in some innings in center, and potentially at first and third base.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Six years ago, Lonnie Chisenhall stood in left field for the Indians for precisely one pitch. That is the extent of his experience at the position, which may now be Chisenhall's way back to the roster when he is deemed ready to come off the disabled list.

Prior to Tuesday's game against the Twins, manager Terry Francona noted that Chisenhall will play all three outfield positions in a Minor League rehab assignment, beginning with right field on Tuesday for Triple-A Columbus. After that, Chisenhall will get at least two games in left field before possibly mixing in some innings in center, and potentially at first and third base.

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"In the near-term, that would be the best fit," Francona said of left field.

Chisenhall -- a right fielder by trade -- has been on the 10-day DL since July 11 due to a right calf strain. While he was working his way back from the injury, left fielder Michael Brantley was shelved with a sprained right ankle on Wednesday and the Indians acquired right fielder Jay Bruce from the Mets later that same day.

When healthy, Chisenhall was productive, hitting .305 with 12 homers, 13 doubles, 51 RBIs and a .953 OPS in 64 games. Having the ability to work him back into the mix -- along with Austin Jackson, Brandon Guyer and Bradley Zimmer -- could help the Tribe's lineup, but Bruce now has a home in right.

Chisenhall's only experience in left came on Sept. 25, 2011, during a tribute to Indians great Jim Thome, who was playing in his final home game in Cleveland. During the ninth inning of that game, Chisenhall shifted to left from third base for one pitch, so Thome could take the field as a third baseman (his original position with the Indians). After one pitch, Chisenhall moved back to third (his position prior to transitioning to the outfield).

Playing Chisenhall in left field is a far more realistic option now, especially with Brantley's timetable for return still unclear.

"He's still in the boot," Francona said of Brantley. "He's doing [rehab] stuff at the ballpark, but he's still in the healing stages."

Miller on target for Friday
Indians relief ace Andrew Miller (10-day DL, right knee) is on schedule to work one inning for Triple-A Columbus in a Minor League rehab assignment on Wednesday. Barring any setbacks, Francona said Miller will rejoin the Major League team on Friday for the series opener against the Royals.

"He's driving up there tonight to Columbus," Francona said on Tuesday. "And he'll throw an inning. We talked back and forth about bringing him in the middle of an inning. He'll have a clean inning and then, as long as everything is good, he'll meet us in Kansas City."

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Cleveland Indians, Lonnie Chisenhall