“Lonnie Chisenhall seizes third base job with hot spring.”
That was the headline in the Cleveland Plain Dealer after Lonnie Chisenhall hit .412 in spring training and manager Terry Francona picked him as the Indians’ starting third baseman. But like so many players who had a “hot spring” this year he struggled when the games actually mattered.
And today, after Chisenhall hit just .213 with a .604 OPS in 26 games the Indians demoted him to Triple-A.
Chisenhall is still just 24 years old, but he’s now posted a sub-.700 OPS in 135 games as a big leaguer and perhaps most discouragingly has a hideous 98/19 K/BB ratio. He also hasn’t been much good defensively at third base, committing 20 errors in 108 starts there.
Mark Reynolds and Mike Aviles figure to split time at third base for Cleveland.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.