Chisenhall cleared, back in Indians' lineup
Rookie mans third base, bats ninth in Thursday's series opener
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.
Carmona works out quad with no problems
BALTIMORE -- Fausto Carmona did not like being placed on the disabled list, but the Indians starter feels rested, recovered and ready to rejoin the rotation after a bout with a strained right quadriceps.
Carmona logged three innings during a simulated game Thursday at Camden Yards before testing his leg in a series of sprint and agility drills in the outfield. Barring a setback, Carmona is expected to be activated from the 15-day DL on Monday for a road start against the Twins.
"I'm not anticipating any issues," said Indians manager Manny Acta. "I think he's ready to start on Monday."
Carmona injured his right leg during a hard fall while running out a bunt in the third inning of an Interleague game against the Reds on July 2. Earlier in the game, Carmona had the webbing between the index and middle fingers on his right hand cut by a grounder off the bat of Homer Bailey.
Neither injury presented a problem during Thursday's workout.
Carmona worked through 50 pitches, throwing 20 in his first simulated inning followed by 15 in each of the next two frames. Cleveland hitters Lonnie Chisenhall, Luis Valbuena, Ezequiel Carrera and Shelley Duncan each stepped in to face the big right-hander.
In the outfield after his pitching session, Carmona simulated fielding places, running in all directions after going through his delivery motion. Carmona, who is 4-10 with a 5.78 ERA in 18 starts this season for the Tribe, said that the running drills were more important for testing his leg strength.
"It's OK," Carmona said. "I threw on the mound like normal in a game. After that, I did some running. I feel good. I'm ready to go. Throwing on the mound, I felt very good. I was throwing strikes. My leg is strong."
The Indians have a day-night doubleheader Monday against the Twins at Target Field. It is not immediately clear which game Carmona will start. Acta indicated that Cleveland will announce Monday's second starter on Sunday night. The top candidates appear to be lefty David Huff and righty Zach McAllister, from Triple-A Columbus.
For now, the Indians are more concerned with Carmona's health.
"He looked good," Acta said. "He had no issues. He threw the ball very good and he's all set to go. He did some running and all that and, probably in the next day or so, we're going to have him do some agility work around the mound just to make sure everything checks out OK."
Acta gets great memories from HR Derby
BALTIMORE -- Manny Acta would have been forgiven for taking a day off from throwing early batting practice to his hitters. Giving up 31 home runs to Red Sox slugger Adrian Gonzalez in Monday's Home Run Derby took a toll on the Indians manager's arm.
On Thursday afternoon, though, Acta took the mound at Camden Yards and willingly threw fastballs to a group of Cleveland batters. The home-run output was considerably lower during this particular session.
"Different hitters," joked Indians closer Chris Perez, who was a member of the American League All-Star team. "He performed. He got A-Gone in the finals. He represented us well. I'm sure that's a great memory he'll have."
Gonzalez finished as the runner-up to Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano in the Derby with Acta as his personal thrower. Acta noted that he and the Boston first baseman had no prior connection. It was a random turn of events that led to the Tribe manager helping Gonzalez reach the Derby finals.
"He didn't have anybody to throw," explained Acta, who was on the AL's All-Star coaching staff. "I was just sitting at my locker eating and reading. I heard him telling his dad or somebody that was with him that he didn't have anybody to throw to him.
"It was only like 20 minutes until that whole thing started. I turned around and told him if he wanted, I could throw to him. It was a great experience -- a hurtful one."
It did not take long for Acta to become impressed with Gonzalez, either.
"He's an unbelievably focused guy," Acta said. "I've never seen anybody so focused on a Home Run Derby. He was in it to win it. We went to the cage and right away we were doing some coaching in there. He was telling me where he wanted the ball and all that kind of stuff.
"Then, in between rounds, we went in and hit again before it was his turn. He was very, very serious about this. I learned a great deal about why he's such a great player."
Cano eventually defeated Gonzalez, 32-31, for the Derby crown. His father, Jose Cano, served as his Derby thrower. Acta and the elder Cano were Minor League teammates in the Houston Astros organization.
"I've known little Robinson since he was like six years old," Acta said.
Quote to note
"I got a bunch of tweets about it. I told them all that I'm practicing a backflip for next year." -- Reliever Vinnie Pestano, who sprints in from the bullpen, on San Diego closer Heath Bell's sprint and slide to the mound during Tuesday's All-Star Game.
Right-hander Jeanmar Gomez was with the Indians in Baltimore on Thursday. It has not been officially announced, but Gomez is the planned starter for Sunday's game against the Orioles. He still needs to be officially recalled from Triple-A Columbus, where he has gone 9-3 with a 2.40 ERA in 14 starts.
Right-hander Alex White, who is on the 60-day disabled list with a right middle finger injury, is also in Baltimore. White is slated to throw a bullpen session at Camden Yards on Saturday and is scheduled to complete four mound sessions before advancing to simulated games. White could begin a rehab assignment within the next two weeks.
The Indians made it known on Wednesday that they planned on recalling outfielder Ezequiel Carrera from Triple-A Columbus after placing righty Mitch Talbot (back strain) on the 15-day disabled list. On Thursday, Cleveland made the move official. "He could see limited action here," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He could probably pinch hit, pinch run, or something like that. Or, cheerleader -- you name it."
The Indians announced promotions of staff members Bob DiBiasio and Curtis Danburg on Thursday. DiBiasio, whose previous title was vice president of public relations, has been named the senior vice president of public affairs. DiBiasio has been with the organization for 33 years. Danburg, who has been with the organization for 16 years, has been promoted from director of communications and creative services to senior director of communications.