Chisenhall goes airborne to reel in catch

Chisenhall goes airborne to reel in catch

CLEVELAND -- Lonnie Chisenhall shifted to his feet, looked down and brushed off some of the dirt that was caked across his white jersey. Each speck of clay was well-earned by the Indians right fielder, who continues to make his transition to the outfield look easy.

On Sunday night, Chisenhall dropped plenty of jaws at Progressive Field with an all-out diving catch to rob Detroit's Rajai Davis of what looked like a sure extra-base hit. The highlight-reel play served as a silver lining for the Indians in a 9-2 loss to Detroit in second game of a doubleheader.

"That was one of the nicer plays you're going to see all year," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "That's a double. He left his feet going away from the play, which is not easy. That was a heck of a play."

Chisenhall's latest gem came in the sixth inning, when he took over in right field for Ryan Raburn.

Davis led off the inning and sent a 1-0 pitch from Indians reliever Austin Adams rocketing over right-center field for a would-be hit. Chisenhall got a great jump -- his first step was measured at 0.34 seconds, according to Statcast™ -- and chased down the line drive on a sprint. As he closed in on the diving ball, Chisenhall left his feet, extended his left arm and snared the ball before crashing to the ground.

Chisenhall landed on the edge of the grass and partially on the warning track, where he slid to a stop as center fielder Michael Martinez arrived. Martinez helped Chisenhall up and the right fielder smiled as he flipped the ball back to the infield following the impressive out.

Off the bat, Chisenhall was not sure he would be able to make the catch.

"Not really. I didn't have the greatest route at it," Chisenhall said.

Statcast™ actually indicated that Chisenhall had a route efficiency of 97 percent on the play.

"Did it?" Chisenhall said with a laugh. "I need to tell Millsy."

That'd be bench coach Brad Mills, who doubles as Cleveland's outfield instructor. Chisenhall joked that Mills was focused on "the 3 percent" that would have made for a perfect route efficiency.

"I thought it was a pretty good jump," Chisenhall said. "It was a slight banana [route], but he hit the ball well and it was fading a little bit, too."

Chisenhall covered 73.9 feet on the play, while reaching a top speed of 18.8 mph. The outfielder, who entered the day ranked first among American League outfielders with 11 Defensive Runs Saved despite only playing the position for the past six weeks, said every day presents new chances to learn more about handling the position.

"Every day, there's something new," he said. "You just try to beat the curve. ... I'm not hesitant with a question toward anybody. I haven't asked a dumb one yet. I'm sure I will."

On the pitch before Chisenhall made the grab, the right fielder heard a heckler in the stands yelling, "Go back to the Minors!"

"I looked back and it wasn't [general manager Chris Antonetti] so we were all good," Chisenhall joked. "It was pretty good timing. I don't know if he laughed or the people laughed around him, but it was perfect."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.