Chisenhall says he's ready to play Thursday

Chisenhall says he's ready to play Thursday

Chisenhall says he's ready to play Thursday
CLEVELAND -- If you looked at Lonnie Chisenhall, you wouldn't be confident in his ability to see, let alone play baseball. But the third baseman -- red eye, bruised cheek and all -- insists he has been cleared to play Thursday.

The rookie took a fastball to the face from Blue Jays pitcher Carlos Villanueva last Thursday. He suffered a sinus fracture and sat out the remainder of the series against Toronto.

The colored part of Chisenhall's right eye is engulfed in a sea of red. He has a crescent-shaped bruise under the eye and a scrape from the seams of the baseball on his cheekbone. He said it looks worse than it is.

"The first two or three days were really bad," Chisenhall said, "but now the swelling is pretty much gone. I just have the redness around the eye, but that won't be gone for about a month or so."

The Indians added a protective piece to the cheek area of Chisenhall's helmet. Villanueva's pitch nicked the helmet's earflap, diverting some of the blow away from his face.

"It looks like he's gone a couple rounds with Mike Tyson," Indians head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff said a day after Chisenhall took the knockout punch.

Chisenhall said Villanueva reached out to apologize.

"He said he was just trying to come in and throw a strike," Chisenhall said. "I get thrown in a lot. I know he didn't mean anything by it."

Chisenhall passed vision tests and showed no signs of a concussion. While at Triple-A Columbus, he missed nine games in June with a concussion after a slide into third base.

Chisenhall said he had to ice his face twice an hour last week to help reduce the swelling. That made it easier for him to recognize the man in the mirror.

"It swelled up really fast," Chisenhall said, "so I didn't really recognize myself."