BALTIMORE -- Mere inches made all the difference in Lonnie Chisenhall's rapid recovery from a frightening fastball.
The Indians' rookie was back in the starting lineup Monday, manning third base and batting ninth. On July 7, Chisenhall was struck on the right side of his face by a pitch from the Blue Jays' Carlos Villanueva.
Fortunately for Chisenhall, the baseball glanced off his helmet first.
"You have to be thankful that the ball got the helmet," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "I don't think that if it would've got him square in the face he was going to be able to come back this fast. He went through all those tests and took batting practice."
Chisenhall noted that he has taken batting practice with no issues for the past four or five days. He also stepped to the plate during a simulated game Thursday against sidelined Indians starter Fausto Carmona. With no concussion-like symptoms and his vision fine, Chisenhall was cleared to play.
"He's good to go," Acta said.
On Thursday, the white of Chisenhall's right eye was red and he had bruising on his upper cheek -- results of a sinus fracture. The third baseman will be sporting a specialized helmet, which has an earflap that extends over the cheek and jaw, for the next six weeks or so while the bone heals.
Chisenhall entered the opener with the Orioles hitting .267 (8-for-30) with one home run, three doubles and two RBIs in nine games with Cleveland this season.