It's far from a crushing blow as the Indians are not losing an MVP candidate or even one of their All-Star caliber players. But losing Lonnie Chisenhall to injury has to sting a bit. Maybe not as much as the sting put into his arm by Orioles reliever Troy Patton, but it stings pretty good.
Chisenhall was struck by a Patton fastball Friday night in his third at-bat of the game in the fifth inning. He walked to first base, shaking his arm and was immediately lifted for Shelley Duncan, who replaced him in the lineup at designated hitter. The results of an X-ray told the world after the game that he fractured his right ulna bone and that he could miss up to six weeks of action.
Again, it isn't a huge injury that will cripple the Indians, but it is just the latest in the wall that seems to be blocking Lonnie Chisenhall from becoming a regular part of the Indians plans. Chisenhall was finally starting to show that promise in a more regular opportunity to get at-bats. As the Indians most regular designated hitter in Travis Hafner's absence, Chisenhall was starting to settle in.
Since his call up in 24 contests he hit .278 with three home runs. In his past ten games he hit .367 with a .406 on-base percentage. The Indians have yet to really test him against left-handed hitters, having him start against just two and he's had just 12 at-bats total this season. But with Hafner out and no regular DH, it was an opportune time to see what Chisenhall could bring.
Thus far, he hasn't panned out as quickly as the Indians perhaps would have liked. Although the emergence of Jack Hannahan in the past two seasons has probably contributed to the slowed process, Chisenhall's struggle against left-handed pitchers continues to be the thing that probably holds him back the most. Where as Jason Kipnis' rise has been rather quick and delightful, Chisenhall's has been unsatisfying, yet hopeful to the point where it simply teases you.
He's clearly had enough of Triple-A, having hit .324 in 28 games for the Clippers. He's pretty much done proving himself at that level, so the next logical step is for him to progress at the highest level. This injury only stalls that. Although Travis Hafner is due back next Monday, with Hannahan's continued struggles at the plate, one would have to think Chisenhall would stick around and get some at-bats. Unless of course the Indians planned on giving us more of Jose Lopez.
Now he'll spend the better part of the next month recovering and rehabbing. Acta said that Chisenhall was putting better at-bats together in his latest stint and that it is tough to see him go down.
As for a roster move to take his place? Obviously as mentioned, Travis Hafner will be back soon, eliminating any sort of mystery as to who would get the boot to make room for him. But in the meantime the Indians have two more games to play. They could return Scott Barnes despite being called down thanks to the 10-day injury rule for an extra bullpen arm. Or they could add another bat, recalling one of Matt LaPorta or Russ Canzler if they'd like someone to get some at-bats at designated hitter.
That answer is expected to come today and with it likely being a short-term move, I'd think it is likely they go for Barnes' quick return.
Nino has a blog! Give it a vist at The Tribe Daily, because he's more Italian than Vinny Rottino. Pizza Pie!