Tribe debating where Kipnis should begin year

Tribe debating where Kipnis should begin year

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The general thinking up to this point has been that Indians prospects Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis would occupy the same infield with Triple-A Columbus to open this season.

On Monday, Indians general manager Chris Antonetti indicated that the organization is still discussing whether Kipnis -- re-assigned to Minor League camp -- should begin the year with Double-A Akron. Chisenhall, on the other hand, seems certain to start at Columbus.

"It's a little bit different," Antonetti said. "Lonnie had a full year at Double-A last year, where Kipnis had a little bit more than half a year. Lonnie is also a little bit further along in his conversion from shortstop to third base than Jason is in converting from the outfield to second base. So that's a discussion we're having."

Last season, the 23-year-old Kipnis hit .307 with 16 home runs, 32 doubles and 74 RBIs in 133 games between Class A Kinston and Double-A Akron. Kipnis played briefly at Triple-A during the playoffs, and then took part in Cleveland's instructional league and the Arizona Fall League after the season.

Antonetti said Kipnis worked extremely hard from January through November last year, focusing on his switch from the outfield to second base. So far this spring, Antonetti was extremely pleased with Kipnis' progress at the position. Whether that development will continue at Double-A or Triple-A has yet to be determined.

"I've been really encouraged," Antonetti said. "Organizationally, we feel no reason he won't be a very successful second baseman -- both offensively and defensively. He re-affirmed our expectations coming into camp, and continued to go about his work."