Chisenhall hits homer off Carmona

Chisenhall hits homer off Carmona

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The ball jumped off the bat, and two vastly different thoughts had to be running through the heads of the pitcher and the hitter.

Fausto Carmona hoped this home run off the bat of Lonnie Chisenhall was just an early spring hiccup as he continues to search for his 2007 form, while Chisenhall hoped it was the first of many productive at-bats in an Indians uniform.

For now, Chisenhall's solo shot Wednesday was merely an early highlight of the Indians' second and final intrasquad tuneup before Cactus League play begins against the Reds on Friday. And for the record, Smitty's American Racers, coached by third-base coach Steve Smith, topped Sarby's Sour Balls, coached by Triple-A manager Mike Sarbaugh, by a 5-3 count in the 6 1/2-inning affair at Goodyear Ballpark.

Carmona was, of course, just getting his work in. And his work this spring includes an attempt to gain effectiveness against left-handed hitters by shifting to the first-base side of the rubber.

Manager Manny Acta said he was going to suggest that move to Carmona when he visited him in the Dominican over the winter. But Acta was pleased to find that Carmona's winter ball teammate at Aguilas, Jose Lima, had already made the suggestion.

"It worked for him in winter ball," Acta said. "It was only 13 innings, but it worked. ... Being on that side of the rubber gives him a better opportunity to hit both sides of the plate."

Carmona worked one inning in the intrasquad, and Chisenhall's blast was all that marred it. Carmona struck out Travis Hafner on a nice changeup. And the home run pitch didn't bother Acta, because it came when Carmona was trying to challenge Chisenhall with a first-pitch fastball.

Acta was also quick to give credit to Chisenhall for pouncing on the pitch. It was not a bad first impression for Chisenhall to make in his first game activity in his inaugural Major League camp. Later, he added a single and scored a run off Hector Rondon.

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"This kid is walking around the clubhouse like he's been there before, without being cocky or anything," Acta said of Chisenhall. "He's not intimidated by anything. He's just a ballplayer, and he's going to be a nice player for this franchise."

Chisenhall was drafted as a shortstop when the Indians made him their first-round choice in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, but he made the conversion to become a full-time third baseman last year at Class A Kinston and Double-A Akron. He batted a combined .258 with 31 doubles, 22 homers and 92 RBIs in 123 games.

Chisenhall, who expects to begin the season at Akron, said he doesn't view himself as a power hitter.

"I try to hit the ball hard," he said. "If the ballpark allows for it or the weather and everything goes right, it might get out. I just try to square up the ball and do what I do best -- stay up the middle and hit the ball hard."

Chisenhall certainly hit the ball hard off Carmona.

Other highlights in the intrasquad included the second homer in as many days off the bat of Jordan Brown, last year's International League batting champ. The game was decided on a three-run homer in the sixth from Donnie Webb, brought up for the day from Minor League camp, off Kelvin De La Cruz.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.