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.
Photo Credit: Chuck Crow / The Plain Dealer