Indians recall streaking 3B Lonnie Chisenhall
Lonnie Chisenhall took his demotion in stride. He didn't go down to the minor leagues and sulk.
He picked up his bat and hit his way back to the Indians.
Chisenhall, who began the season as Cleveland's starting third baseman before a slump led to him being optioned on May 13, was recalled Tuesday from Triple-A Columbus and was in the starting lineup and batting seventh against the Kansas City Royals.
Being called up for the third time to the majors wasn't as thrilling to the 24-year-old Chisenhall as his first time, but it represents a fresh start to a season that started poorly.
''It's not quite as life-changing as it was in 2011,'' he said. ''But it's definitely a positive to get back and contribute to the team what I can.''
Chisenhall was batting just .213 (20 for 94) with three homers and 11 RBIs in 26 games and his defensive was suffering before the Indians decided to send him down to the Clippers. They wanted him to clear his head, take a deep breath and relax. It was obvious he was trying to do too much and was only making his problems worse.
At Columbus, Chisenhall got his swing back.
He batted .390 with six homers and 26 RBIs in 27 games, and hit an eye-popping .467 with 16 RBIs in 16 games since May 29.
''We wanted him to get his swing in order and he certainly did that,'' Indians manager Terry Francona said. ''He's swinging the bat great.''
Cleveland's offense could use a boost. The Indians have scored two or fewer runs in three of their last four games. Also, the Indians are without All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera (leg) and first baseman Nick Swisher (shoulder), who won't be back in the lineup for a few more days.
''Maybe he gives us a little jolt while he just plays his game,'' Francona said. ''He did a really good job of going down and doing what you ask him to do.''
Chisenhall, who missed two months last season with a broken arm, was pressing during the early part of the season. He wanted to please, but the harder he tried, the worse things got.
''You could see at the end there, it was starting to wear on him,'' Francona said. ''He got to third and he was thinking about his hitting, things that young players do. When we sent him down we talked to him and said, `Here's what you're going to do,' and he went and did it to his credit because we want Lonnie to be a big part of what we do moving forward.''
Chisenhall acknowledged feeling the pressure to perform and show the Indians they made the right decision to give him the starting job.
''It can snowball one way or the other,'' he said. ''You want to get off to a good start in the season. Once you dig yourself a little hole it gets harder and harder to get out and the numbers are on the scoreboard every night for everybody to see and you want to change those. I don't want to put too much pressure on myself coming back and just have good at-bats.''