3/18/2014 10:31 P.M. ET
Chisenhall making case for playing time
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- With so much attention on Carlos Santana's transition from catching to playing third base this spring, Lonnie Chisenhall's solid showing has mostly flown under the radar.
Unlike a year ago, Chisenhall is battling for playing time at third base this spring, so turning in a strong performance in the batter's box and in the field could go a long way in convincing the Indians to keep him on the Opening Day roster. Santana will likely have at least a part-time role at the hot corner, but there are still ample at-bats to offer to Chisenhall.
"He had a good spring last year also," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "It was a little bit different situation. Lonnie came in last year and he knew he was going to be the third baseman. This year, we have Carlos over there and we don't quite know yet what we're going to do. So what we've asked Lonnie to do is play the best he can and let us worry about the decisions. I think he's done a good job of that."
Entering Tuesday night's game against the Giants, Chisenhall was sporting a .286/.375/.514 slash line with four extra-base hits, five RBIs and five runs in 35 Cactus League at-bats. That falls in line with the third baseman's career, during which he has posted a .324/.395/.555 line in 182 at-bats across five springs with the Tribe.
Francona has made it clear multiple times that the team's spring evaluations of players go well beyond the statistics.
"You're trying to look at, 'OK, what makes your team the best?'" Francona said. "You're trying to evaluate, while still remembering that guys are getting ready for a season. That's why it can be difficult."
Raburn back with Indians after daughter's birth
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Ryan Raburn and Mike Aviles have neighboring lockers during Spring Training and similar utility roles on the Indians' bench during the season. It is a situation that has led to plenty of good-natured ribbing over the past year for the teammates.
That continued Tuesday, when Raburn rejoined the Indians in Arizona after spending the past five days in Florida with his family after the birth of his second daughter. Raburn arrived to the hospital just 20 minutes before Raelyn Grace arrived at 10:30 p.m. ET on Thursday.
"I was able to get there in the nick of time," said Raburn, who then smirked. "The only problem was I was trying to hold her off until at least midnight. Now she's got Aviles' birthday. Me and him are forever linked together."
Raburn said it was great to have a few days with his wife and daughters, but he was happy to be back in camp with Cleveland. The versatile utility man has not played since crashing into the right-field wall at Cubs Park on March 7 and is still dealing with soreness in his left knee.
The current plan is to work Raburn into Wednesday's game as a designated hitter and then he will likely garner some at-bats in a Minor League game during Thursday's off-day for the Indians.
"I was ready to get back and get back after it," Raburn said. "I'm still sore. I wouldn't say it's 100 percent, but I can still run out there and everything. It just still hurts. I'll keep getting treatment every day and hopefully by the time Opening Day comes around, it's out of there.
"Right now, we're just trying to get through it and get as many at-bats as I can in the process."
Last season, which was Raburn's first with the Tribe, he hit .272 with 16 home runs and 55 RBIs in 86 games (243 at-bats). Barring any setbacks, the 32-year-old Raburn projects to begin the year on the bench, serving as an backup option for first, second and third base, as well as the corner outfield spots.
Indians bring back former prospect Miller
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians stuck by Adam Miller through four finger surgeries and gave him a chance to embark on an improbable comeback trail. Cleveland is once again offering the former pitching prospect the opportunity to continue his professional career.
On Tuesday, the Indians announced they have signed Miller to a Minor League contract. Miller spent nine seasons in Cleveland's system after being selected in the first round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft by the club but was out of affiliated baseball last year.
After being released by the Yankees after the 2012 season, the 29-year-old Miller spent '13 with the Sugar Land Skeeters in the independent Atlantic League, posting a 4.79 ERA in 36 appearances. The right-hander came up as a starter but transitioned to a relief role during his run with the Indians from '03-11.
Miller was one of the Tribe's top pitching prospects until right middle finger issues began to take a toll as early as 2007. Miller missed most of '08 and sat out the '09-10 seasons after undergoing surgeries to repair damage to the pulley ligaments in the finger. The tip of the middle finger on his throwing hand is permanently bent due to the wave of procedures.
Miller has reported to Minor League camp for the Indians, who are offering him a chance to continue his long comeback as a reliever. In 200 career Minor League games, including his stint in New York's system, Miller has posted a 3.93 ERA with 585 strikeouts and 221 walks in 661 2/3 innings.
Quote to note
"Word gets around pretty quick when guys are like Grady. The all-American kid. He's such a good player. So word gets around pretty quick through the league. He looked like he was going to be one of the faces of baseball. Unfortunately, his knees didn't cooperate."
--Francona, on former Tribe star Grady Sizemore, who is attempting a comeback from multiple knee surgeries with the Red Sox
• Santana was in the lineup Tuesday night as the third baseman for the Indians, but he will start behind the plate for the first time this spring Wednesday. Francona said the team will continue to work with Santana on how to divide up his playing time for the remainder of the spring.
"I want to see how he comes through the catching physically, and see how he does," Francona said. "We'll kind of go from there, see how much he would need to do it. Some of this is going to be talking to Carlos, because it's kind of uncharted waters. Not too many guys play third and catch and are your cleanup hitter. He's been really good about visiting with me and we'll continue to do that."
• Non-roster outfielder Nyjer Morgan, who sat out the past five days due to a mild left calf injury, returned to the lineup Tuesday night at Cleveland's center fielder. Morgan is competing for a spot on the Opening Day roster as a reserve outfielder.
• Francona said there was no definitive update yet on Minor League outfielder Tyler Holt, who was injured on the final play of Monday's loss to the Reds. Holt slipped in left field and had the wind knocked out of him, according to the manager. Francona added that Holt was also examined for whiplash-type symptoms.
• On Tuesday, the Indians released the following Minor League players: right-handers Kyle Bellows, Manual Carmona, Bryce Stowell, Jack Wagoner, Thomas White and Rob Whitenack, and left-handers Carlos Diaz and Harold Guerrero.