6/11/2014 3:14 P.M. ET
Van Burkleo credits Chisenhall's maturity for success
By Jackson Alexander / MLB.com
KANSAS CITY -- Hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo thinks that a winter of contemplation was all Lonnie Chisenhall needed to go from a middling former prospect to the hottest hitter in baseball.
"I think going into the offseason, he just reflected on the season and did a lot of soul searching for how he can get better," Van Burkleo said. "But a lot of it's mental. A lot of it's just getting his head to where it needs to be."
Chisenhall averaged a .240/.284/.411 line in his first three seasons over 682 plate appearances. This season, he's hitting a Major League-leading .388.
"He's been great, he's matured a lot as a hitter and just as a player," Van Burkleo said. "He's playing for the team, he's playing for the win and I think he's not putting a lot of pressure on himself for personal performance."
The transformation from a scuffling youngster simply bidding for playing time to one of the most potent bats in the league was evidenced in his epic 5-for-5, three-homer, nine-RBI outburst against the Rangers on Monday.
"I think last year he was trying to establish himself a little bit and maybe mentally was trying to do a little too much to put up numbers, and I think this year he's looking to drive the ball through the middle of the diamond," Van Burkleo said.
Van Burkleo sees Chisenhall's breakout as a product of his maturation, and the patience it takes from a player to fully bloom.
"It takes some time as a big leaguer to start feeling comfortable," he said. "You've got to prove to yourself that you belong here, and this good start that he's gotten off to has really helped that."
Swisher feels good after first rehab game
KANAS CITY -- Nick Swisher took his first step in returning from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday with a start at first base at Double-A Akron.
Swisher finished 0-for-2 with a strikeout in his first action since the Indians placed him on the DL (left knee hyperextension) on May 27. He played the first five innings of the first game of a doubleheader
"From all reports -- trainer, manager and Swisher himself -- he felt really good," Indians manager Terry Francona said.
He'll make another start at first base on Wednesday before joining Cleveland on the next destination of its road trip, Boston.
"He'll probably fly up to Boston Thursday morning and we'll go from there," Francona said.
Swisher is hitting .211 with a .312 on-base percentage in 49 games.
Tribe inks second-round Draft pick Hockin
KANSAS CITY -- After coming to terms with four draftees earlier Tuesday, the Indians continued later that night by signing Grant Hockin, their second-round pick of the 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Cleveland gave Hockin, a right-handed high school pitcher, a $1.1 million signing bonus on Tuesday, according to MLB Network analyst Jim Callis. That exceeds the $928,700 the Indians' second-round pick was valued for.
Quote to note
"You talk about him being hot, but maybe he's not hot -- he's been pretty consistent all year," Van Burkleo on Chisenhall.
• Since returning from the 7-day DL last Friday, Carlos Santana is hitting .353. The Indians' versatile cleanup hitter possesses a .176 batting average on the season, but combats that with an on-base percentage that nearly doubles it (.340).
• Cleveland's offense has at least 10 hits in seven straight games heading into the series finale with the Royals on Wednesday.
Jackson Alexander is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.