Chisenhall making case for playing time

Chisenhall making case for playing time

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- With so much attention on Carlos Santana's transition from catching to playing third base this spring, Lonnie Chisenhall's solid showing has mostly flown under the radar.

Unlike a year ago, Chisenhall is battling for playing time at third base this spring, so turning in a strong performance in the batter's box and in the field could go a long way in convincing the Indians to keep him on the Opening Day roster. Santana will likely have at least a part-time role at the hot corner, but there are still ample at-bats to offer to Chisenhall.

"He had a good spring last year also," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "It was a little bit different situation. Lonnie came in last year and he knew he was going to be the third baseman. This year, we have Carlos over there and we don't quite know yet what we're going to do. So what we've asked Lonnie to do is play the best he can and let us worry about the decisions. I think he's done a good job of that."

Entering Tuesday night's game against the Giants, Chisenhall was sporting a .286/.375/.514 slash line with four extra-base hits, five RBIs and five runs in 35 Cactus League at-bats. That falls in line with the third baseman's career, during which he has posted a .324/.395/.555 line in 182 at-bats across five springs with the Tribe.

Francona has made it clear multiple times that the team's spring evaluations of players go well beyond the statistics.

"You're trying to look at, 'OK, what makes your team the best?'" Francona said. "You're trying to evaluate, while still remembering that guys are getting ready for a season. That's why it can be difficult."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.