2/11/2014 4:47 P.M. ET
Chisenhall striving to earn more at-bats
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Lonnie Chisenhall is trying not to worry too much about Cleveland's plans to try catcher Carlos Santana at third base this spring. Chisenhall knows the only thing under his control is his performance and preparation.
Chisenhall can do little about what has happened in the past, or the way the Indians view his future.
"There have been more bumps in the the road than I have wanted," Chisenhall said on Tuesday. "But, I'm still young. I know what I can do for the Cleveland Indians, and I know what I can do at third base."
As camp opens for the Tribe, Chisenhall is being given the chance to once again earn the bulk of the at-bats at third base. Cleveland is also going to take a close look at Santana at third, especially now that Yan Gomes has emerged as the team's new starting catcher.
Over the offseason, Santana worked at the hot corner during winter ball in the Dominican Republic. Former Major Leaguer Fernando Tatis helped Santana with the transition, and Cleveland's former No. 1 catcher said Seattle's Robinson Cano and Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion both offered positive feedback after seeing him play the hot corner.
"Everybody was surprised in the Dominican," Santana said. "It's been good. It feels good. I went there to the Dominican, and I felt good. I worked hard all the time. The team hasn't made a decision yet, but I'm doing whatever they say."
Santana, who wore his infield glove while chatting with reporters, said he still wants to catch, but is willing to take on whatever role Cleveland offers. All that is known right now is that the switch-hitter will be a regular part of the Indians lineup, whether that is as a catcher, first baseman, third baseman or designated hitter.
The left-handed-hitting Chisenhall knows that one scenario could include him handling right-handed pitching and Santana subbing at third against lefties. Last year, Chisenhall hit .111 (4-for-36) against southpaws and the Indians and manager Terry Francona limited him to only one at-bat against left-handers in September. Chisenhall responded by hitting .270 with a .920 OPS in the final month.
"I'd love to have all the at-bats," said Chisenhall, who hit .225 in 94 games last season. "At the same time, I have to earn them. ... I've platooned all three years so far, so I definitely need to earn the at-bats and put up quality at-bats."
Long-term extension remains Kipnis' goal
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis has maintained that he is open to exploring a long-term contract with the Indians. That remains the case, and Kipnis is hoping to revisit such talks with Cleveland later this spring.
Kipnis was at the Tribe's Spring Training complex on Tuesday and said he is examining two situations while considering his future. Left fielder Michael Brantley reached an agreement Monday night on a four-year contract extension with the Indians that covers three arbitration years and one year of free agency. Reliever Vinnie Pestano went to arbitration with Cleveland on Friday and lost his case.
"Both things kind of hit home," Kipnis said. "You have Brantley, who's signing a deal, and you have Vinnie, who went to arbitration and lost. I got to kind of see both ends of the spectrum right there, and the ups and downs of both sides. I got to kind of sit back and watch through their situations and learn from it.
"I'll ask them questions about the process, on how it went, and kind of make my own judgement from there."
Kipnis, 26, made the American League All-Star team for the first time last season and finished the season hitting .284 with 17 home runs, 36 doubles, 84 RBIs, 30 stolen bases and 86 runs scored in 149 games for the Tribe. He will become eligible for arbitration for the first time next offseason, making him a prime candidate for an extension.
Cleveland has not officially announced Brantley's contract, which is valued at $25 million in guaranteed salary and includes an $11 million club option for 2018, and the club is also going through the arbitration process with pitchers Justin Masterson and Josh Tomlin. Once those situations are resolved, Kipnis believes it might be time to re-open extension talks.
"Why would I not listen?" Kipnis said. "Yeah, I'm open to hearing what they have to say or what they have to offer. It'd be stupid not to. I know they've got some arbitration cases to finish right now. I think once everyone's done with that and spring starts flowing along, we'll start talking again. Of course I'll listen."
Kipnis was thrilled for his friend Brantley.
"It's not official yet, but I'm happy for him," Kipnis said. "He's a good guy. There's some down sides to business. There's always some bad parts, but there are some good things, too. I'm happy to see him get a little pay day and get some money for his family."
Tomlin eager to compete for spot on pitching staff
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Negotiations have ceased between the Indians and unsigned pitcher Josh Tomlin. The sides are scheduled to head to an arbitration hearing on Friday to determine the right-hander's salary for the upcoming season.
Cleveland has adopted a "file and trial" approach on a case-by-case basis with arbitration-eligible players, meaning in some instances the team will go to a hearing if salary figures are exchanged. Tomlin fell into that category for Cleveland, which won its hearing with reliever Vinnie Pestano on Friday.
"We've been open to trying to come to a settlement," Tomlin said on Tuesday. "Whatever happens, happens. That's just the business side of it. It's nothing you can really control. That's the way it is and the nature of the beast, I guess. Hopefully, we'll get this behind us pretty soon and we can focus on baseball."
Tomlin, who is vying for a spot in either the rotation or bullpen this spring, is seeking a salary of $975,000, while the Indians are offering $800,000. By arbitration standards, the gap in salary is slim, making it seem as though the sides took a stubborn approach during talks.
"I wouldn't say it's both sides being stubborn," Tomlin sad. "I think it's just both sides understanding the business side of it, and that's all it is. There's nothing personal about any of it."
Tomlin, 29, appeared in just one game (two innings) for the Indians last season, following a comeback from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. In parts of three seasons with Cleveland, he has gone 23-19 with a 4.92 ERA in 60 games (54 starts). Tomlin's best season came in 2011, when he went 12-7 with a 4.25 ERA across 26 starts for Cleveland.
Coming off a normal offseason, Tomlin said he is looking forward to doing all he can to make the Opening Day roster this spring.
"It's nice to get here and see the guys," he said. "It's good to be back and understand that you're in a spot to compete for a job. That's what I'm most excited about, being able to be healthy and going out there and trying to compete and do whatever it takes to help the team win games."
Quote to note
"Even knowing the verdict now, I'd do it over again 100 times, because it's one of those things where somebody tells you what you're worth to them monetarily, and I saw myself a little bit more. If it's a decision that has to be made on my career, based on what I think I've done, especially based on players who are getting paid the amount of money I was asking for, and my numbers are comparable or better in some categories, then I'll fight that every day."
-- Indians reliever Vinnie Pestano, on losing his arbitration hearing on Friday
• Indians reliever Frank Herrmann, who underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow during Spring Training last year, threw off a mound on Monday. It marked the first time since the operation that he threw off a mound with a hitter at the plate. Herrmann is vying for one of the few available bullpen spots this spring.
• Position players are not required to report until Saturday, but plenty were on hand at the Tribe's complex on Tuesday. Among those spotted were Kipnis, Chisenhall, Mike Aviles, Brantley, Jeff Francoeur, Nyjer Morgan, Bryan LaHair, Matt Carson, Francisco Lindor, Jesus Aguilar, Carlos Moncrief, David Cooper and Jose Ramirez.
• Kipnis showed up to camp with a new personalized protective case for his fielding glove. The All-Star second baseman's black glove box has "JK 22" printed in red on the side. A few of Kipnis' teammates jumped at the opportunity to give him a hard time about it on Tuesday.