Chisenhall hitting well, could be activated

Chisenhall hitting well, could be activated

PHOENIX -- The Indians have not made a formal decision, but there remains a strong chance that right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall will be activated from the disabled list ahead of Tuesday's home opener. If Chisenhall's latest Minor League rehab game is any indication, he appears ready.

"When a guy gets four hits," Indians manager Terry Francona said, "it's probably a pretty good indication that he's feeling OK."

Chisenhall went 4-for-4 with a double and two runs scored with Triple-A Columbus on Saturday, marking his second straight rehab appearance with the affiliate. Prior to Sunday's game against the D-backs, Francona noted that the right fielder would take one day off from playing before resuming his rehab assignment with the Clippers on Monday.

After that game, Francona will talk things over with Chisenhall, Cleveland's front office and the medical staff before potentially making a move before Tuesday's home opener against the White Sox. Chisenhall typically plays against right-handed pitching, so he would likely be activated from the 10-day DL on Tuesday or Thursday, as the White Sox have lefty Derek Holland slated to pitch on Wednesday.

Chisenhall piled up 41 at-bats in Spring Training before running hard into the right-field wall at Sloan Park in Mesa, Ariz., in a game against the Cubs on March 24. The outfielder injured his right shoulder on the play and began the year on the shelf. In his Cactus League at-bats, Chisenhall hit .268 (.806 OPS), and he has gone 5-for-8 through two rehab games.

"He was in pretty good shape as far as hitting goes," Francona said. "He had a nice base to build off, so I think as long as he's feeling good health-wise, I wouldn't think the [volume of] at-bats are huge. We wanted him to at least play a couple games, one, to make sure he felt good, but also to shake off a little bit of rust or whatever. It looks like, obviously, he shook it."

The plan heading into this season was to pair Chisenhall with Brandon Guyer in right field.

Last season, Chisenhall hit .295 with a .784 OPS in 366 plate appearances against right-handed pitching, while Guyer hit at a .336 clip with a 1.021 OPS in 151 plate appearances against lefties. In Chisenhall's absence, the switch-hitting Abraham Almonte -- an option for all three outfield positions -- won a spot on Cleveland's Opening Day roster.

As things currently stand, it appears as through Almonte (one Minor League option year remaining) could be the odd-man out upon Chisenhall's return.

"Abe worked so hard this spring and put himself in a really good position," Francona said. "Like I said a week before camp ended, whether he made it or not, he had a really good camp. And I think he's put himself in a position where he's going to revive his career and help us."

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. 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.