KANSAS CITY: Indians infielder Lonnie Chisenhall might be considered one of the hottest hitters in baseball after his historic three-homer, nine-RBI night in Texas Monday. But Tribe hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo thinks that’s a misconception.
“You talk about him being hot, but maybe he’s not hot. He’s been pretty consistent all year,” Van Burkleo said Wednesday before the Indians’ 4-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. “He got off to a good start and he’s found a way, even against tough pitching to do something, put a hit in there, get a big RBI or put together a good at-bat. His at-bats have been consistently quality all year. It’s been really fun to watch him mature.
“Young guys starting to gain confidence, it’s like watching Michael Brantley get better every day. You don’t know where the peak is. You keep improving a little bit every day you end up being a hall of famer.”
Chisenhall credited Van Burkleo in his postgame interview Monday and said he’s been able to stick with his plan at the plate this season. Chisenhall batted .362 in April, .373 in May and is hitting .474 in June. Going 2-for-3 Wednesday, he raised his average to .393.
Manager Terry Francona put Chisenhall No. 2 in the lineup as he gave shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera a day off, but said, “I don’t think that’s probably the best spot for Lonnie.”
Francona said he wasn’t cognizant of trying to boost Chisenhall’s plate appearances, although he did get four. Most of Chisenhall’s starts have come in the 5 (12 times), 8 (nine) or 9 (eight) spots.
VEGGIES? — A plate of carrots, celery and broccoli with ranch dip was sitting on Francona’s desk when he met the media at 12:15 p.m., but he’d consumed little. Asked if he was making an effort to eat healthy, Francona said, “You should have seen what I had last night.” He confessed he attacked the ice cream, along with M&Ms.
OTHER STUFF — Francona said first baseman Nick Swisher will fly to Boston this morning after his rehab start for the Double-A RubberDucks Wednesday night. … Francona wasn’t convinced the ground ball off the bat of Jarrod Dyson that Cabrera muffed Tuesday night was going to be a double play. “That kid flies. I think he’s hit into one double play all year,” Francona said. “The ball was hit crisp, but it was still over to the pull side. It would have been tight.”
— Marla Ridenour