When Michael Bourn and Jason Giambi come off the disabled list sometime this April, general manager Chris Antonetti and manager Terry Francona need to decide who stays and who goes. Three players in Nyger Morgan, Josh Elliot and Lonnie Chisenhall are fighting to stay with the big-league club by taking advantage of every opportunity that comes their way. Morgan has shown he can provide a spark with his bat and big personality while Elliot has looked quite pedestrian and lost at the plate in Oakland.
Already maintaining a leg up on the competition, third baseman Chisenhall isn’t wasting any time making his worth felt in the first week of the regular season. After losing out in the competition for third base with Carlos Santana, Chisenhall’s future is a bit of a gray area in the Cleveland Indians’ crowded dugout. For the time being, his role includes filling in at third when Santana DHs, catches or as a DH himself.
In today’s 7-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins, Lonnie Baseball hit a double and saved a run at third when Yan Gomes’ throw to nab the base-runner almost went sputtering into left field. Chisenhall has preserved a patient approach against right-handed pitchers early on, an area he is far more suited to uphold, rather than facing lefties on a regular basis.
Seeing his first action in 2011 with the Indians, Chisenhall has been around enough time where it feels he is a few years above his actual age of 25 years old. With room to still grow, he has reached a crossroads in his career where he needs to prove that he belongs at this level, shaking the tag of being a AAAA player (above Triple-A, below MLB). In just six at-bats to this juncture, Chisenhall has three hits and a walk in the premature 2014 season.
Although the fantasy of him running away with the job at the short corner hasn’t gone as planned, Chisenhall still holds the keys in regards to proving his value going forward.