Welcome Back! Chisenhall Rakes in Clippers 50th Win, and Other Tribe Third Base Musings

It hadn’t been a great June for third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall. In his last 10 games before being injured with a concussion on June 11th, he was hitting just .154 (6-for-39). Apparently a little time off for a concussion can do wonders for a guy.

Chisenhall was activated yesterday and played in his first game against the Mud Hens. And play he did, grabbing four hits, including two singles, a triple, and  an eighth-inning tie-breaking three run jack to power the Clippers to the win; Chisenhall drove in 6 of the team’s 13 runs. And, if you’re into milestones, it was the club’s 50th win in just 73 games (.685 winning percentage), including 14 of their last 15.

Back to Chisenhall, however. There may be a little extra pressure on Chisenhall, as with Matt LaPorta’s injury the Tribe has seen more time with Jack Hannahan at first and Orlando Cabrera playing third base… something he’s never done prior in the big leagues.

It’s probably still too early, however, for Chisenhall. His four-hit night raised his average 11 points, but it was to .261 in 61 games. He hasn’t looked great overall, and he certainly won’t remind anyone of Jack Hannahan with the glove. So, if the Tribe’s third base issue continues to fester, it might be a bit too soon to look to Chisenhall. And, I can’t imagine the Tribe wanting to kick-start the 22-year-old’s service clock when he could really use more time in AAA to hone his skills.

But, there’s another name lurking in Columbus. You know him… you love him… Sweet Luis Valbuena. I’m not going to pitch you a bill of goods, here. It’s been pretty well documented that Sweet Luis is basically a AAAA player, but if the Tribe continues to get so little in terms of production for second and third base, they may have to look to a spark.

Valbuena has provided that spark in Columbus, hitting .307 with eight homers and 45 RBI in 62 games for the Clippers. That looks good, but it’s important to note that from 2008-2010, Valbuena hit .307 in the minors, primarily in AAA. In other words, we’ve probably seen what we will get from Valbuena: he’s a career .227 hitter in almost 700 major league at-bats. Valbuena has also only played 38 games at third base–out of 769 in both the minors and majors–in his entire professional career.

So, it seems we’ll probably have to wait, to hope that Matt LaPorta returns soon enough to move Hannahan back to third full-time, and to hope that Chisenhall can improve over the rest of the season looking forward to 2012. It was just one game, but Wednesday night was a step in the right direction.

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Photo Credit: Chuck Crow / The Plain Dealer

  • woodsmeister

    Indians sent Buck down and will call up Duncan. We may see quite a bit of Duncan at 1b on this road trip, with Hannahan mostly at third.

  • Lyon

    and yet Kearns is still here….

  • Harv 21

    OCab at 3rd will be infamous in the year-end roundups. Wonder if anyone else noticed that when that grounder hit the bag for a double, he barely moved , even instinctively. Not great to put a guy with diminished reaction time at the reaction position.

  • mgbode

    I say cut Kearns (waiting for the cheers to die down. still waiting. almost there. okay it’s down to raucous applause now). Then bringup Valbuena and give him some ABs. Why? well, even if he is a AAAA player and has no future in Cleveland; if he happens to have a hot streak for a couple weeks now, then we just showcased a great trade-chip for July.

  • Lyon

    i like the way you think, mgbode

  • tolbuck

    I was at the Clippers-Hens game last night. I don’t know if it is small sample size or not, but the ball seemed to be flying off Valbuena’s bat better than the in the past. He hit a bomb that might still be going if it hadn’t hit the Fricker’s building beyond the right field wall. (If you haven’t been to a game in Toledo, the fences are taller than in most parks.) As for Chisenhall, he made a couple of fine defensive plays to go along with his offensive fireworks. He won’t be the train wreck defensively the Tribe has thrown out there in the past, Hannahan excluded.