Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 6/6/13
The Indians may feel differently, but third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall should be on a plane and heading to Detroit to rejoin the team for the start of an important three game series this weekend. Manager Terry Francona turned down suggestions made over the past few days that Chisenhall should be called up, going so far as to downplay it by saying that they have not really discussed the matter and the team is more focused on the draft this week. Whether or not Francona is speaking the truth or putting up a smoke screen, the Indians struggles over the past three weeks - where they have lost 12 of 16 and have fallen to 30-29 on the season - make it an opportune time for some changes. No one is expecting wholesale changes, but the team needs a spark and sometimes a few changes to the roster can help get the team going in a more positive direction again. One such change should be to recall Chisenhall from Triple-A Columbus. Chisenhall, 24, was demoted back on May 13th and was hitting just .213 with three homers, 11 RBI and .604 OPS in 26 games in Cleveland. He also had just three walks compared to 22 strikeouts in 94 at bats, and had some struggles in the field with four errors in 58 total chances for a .931 fielding percentage. He was optioned out because his swing was off, his approach at the plate was poor, and his defense was inconsistent. Since going back to Columbus, Chisenhall has found his swing again and his approach has returned. In 17 games he is hitting a blistering .382 with six home runs, 18 RBI and 1.190 OPS, and has nine walks and 14 strikeouts in 68 at bats. Not only is he hitting and doing so with consistent authority, but that all important walk to strikeout ratio is much improved which shows his overall approach is much more in line with what is expected of him. In contrast, since Chisenhalls demotion the Indians have inserted Mark Reynolds in at third base and to put it frankly he has been a disaster since moving there. Prior to Chisenhalls demotion, Reynolds hit a red hot .291 with 11 homers, 32 RBI and .996 OPS in 34 games as the designated hitter, first baseman and occasional third baseman. Since Chisenhall has been sent out and Reynolds has become the primary third baseman, he is hitting an ice cold .173 with two homers, nine RBI and .515 OPS in 23 games. It may just be coincidence that Reynolds is performing poorly at the plate since he moved to third base, but it probably is not. He has long had his struggles defensively, and in his short time at third base for the Indians those problems have surfaced as he is not very good coming in on balls, has an erratic arm, and is just a below average defender overall at third base. Reynolds ranks near the bottom in baseball in ultimate zone rating (UZR) at -2.3 and over the last five seasons his combined -35.8 UZR is the worst in all of baseball. In contrast, while Chisenhall has his issues defensively as well, he at least has a 1.4 UZR this season in Cleveland and over his brief three year big league career has a -3.2 UZR. The defense has still been a little inconsistent for Chisenhall as he has seven errors and a .873 fielding percentage in his 17 games at Columbus, but he is still an upgrade defensively over Reynolds. Chisenhall was also sent out to get more work against left-handed pitching as he was just 2-for-22 against them in Cleveland prior to his demotion. He has had limited opportunities to face lefties as he has just 14 at bats against southpaws in his 17 games with Columbus (4-for-14, 6 K). The struggles are still there against lefties and probably always will be, but right now Chisenhall can really help out the Indians against right-handed pitching at the big league level, something teams face more than 70 of the time. With the Indians lineup slumping, the Indians should call up Chisenhall to be the regular third baseman and set up a mini-platoon with him and Reynolds. By primarily playing Chisenhall against righties and Reynolds against lefties, it helps reduce the exposure of Chisenhall against left-handed pitching and Reynolds overuse at third base. When Reynolds is not playing third, he can play first base or be the designated hitter. Some teams elect to tough it out with their guys when they hit a rough patch as a team, and that is admirable that Francona and the Indians may want to do that. But with the team slipping in the standings and the schedule only getting tougher these next several days, sometimes you need to make a move to create that spark. If Chisenhall comes back and hits like he is expected to and Reynolds moves back to his prior role as a designated hitter and he starts hitting again, the Indians will get more than just a spark to the lineup.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The NCAAB power rankings

SEC begins crying foul over Jim Harbaugh’s spring break plans at Michigan

Marc Gasol reportedly out indefinitely with broken foot

Patriots waive Montee Ball despite never officially re-signing running back

Chicago White Sox: Impact of Mat Latos signing

Clippers suspend Blake Griffin four games


St. Louis mayor says city is moving on from NFL

Report: Hawks could entertain trading core players at deadline

Arthur Blank diagnosed with prostate cancer

Browns deny coverup of Manziel showing up drunk at practice

Jimmy Butler will miss 3-4 weeks with knee strain

Phil Jackson justifies firing Fisher with psychology lesson

Oakland Raiders release Nate Allen

B.J. Penn announces he will return at UFC 197

Bring back the Dunk Contest

Michael Jordan’s rep comments on the crying meme

10 NBA teams that could be active at the trade deadline

‘The X-Files’ takes a shot at the Philadelphia 76ers

Ranking the top 50 NFL players slated to become free agents

Jay Williams advocates for pot as painkiller for athletes

Photographer uninjured in SB collision with Corey Brown

Did Messi outbid Ronaldo for most expensive car?

Newton erotic novella ‘Dabbin’ with Cam’ released on Amazon

In Inglewood, representation by NFL may come with taxation

Mets will be present for two Royals’ WS ceremonies

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker