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Opening Time: Chisenhall reassigned, but he made his point

Andy Behrens
Roto Arcade

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No matter what Lonnie Chisenhall accomplished this spring, the 22-year-old third base prospect wasn't going to open the year in Cleveland. He was reassigned to minor league camp on Monday, to no one's surprise. It doesn't really matter that Jason Donald is currently injured (bruised hand) and every other third base option seems like a bad idea (Luis Valbuena, Jack Hannahan, Jayson Nix). Chisenhall doesn't yet have any experience above Double-A, so the Tribe's plan was always to send him to Columbus to open the season. Done deal.

But during Cactus League play, Chisenhall certainly made a favorable impression on Cleveland manager Manny Acta. There's a good chance will see Chisenhall in the big leagues before the break. He hit .478/.538/.913 through 11 spring games, with two doubles, two homers, five runs scored, and a team-leading 21 total bases.

"We love him," Acta told reporters. "He's going to be part of our team at some point."

Presumably that point will arrive in June, if not late-May. There's clearly not much blocking Chisenhall at the major league level. He's displayed respectable power in the minors — 22 HRs in 2009 across two levels, 17 at Akron in 2010 — and his strikeout rate shouldn't scare anyone off (16.7 percent last year). In deeper fantasy formats, Chisenhall is definitely on the radar. He's the top-rated prospect in Cleveland's system, and he qualifies at a talent-scarce roster spot. File the name away for later use, then proceed to the bullets… {YSP:MORE}

• Phillies closer Brad Lidge should get a few days off this week, as he's apparently dealing with biceps soreness. When you drafted the 34-year-old, you knew what you were getting yourself into, so there's no complaining now. Lidge has yielded five earned runs and eight hits in 5.0 innings so far this spring. He's also issued two walks, hit two batters, and struck out four. Lidge obviously has a long leash, but we should note that handcuff Ryan Madson has been dominant in the early weeks: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 K.

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• This weekend, there were rumors of a potential Johan Santana shutdown, but the rehabbing lefty claims his recovery from shoulder surgery is going just fine. Nothing to see here. Move along. He's experienced the expected shoulder soreness, but he's reportedly still targeting a late-June/early-July return:

Santana and myriad Mets officials spent Sunday morning scoffing at that story and insisting the lefty would continue playing catch this week at up to 70 feet.

Said Santana: "I don't know who's saying that I'm not ready or whatever because according to everything, the way it has been done, we're right on the right track and where we're supposed to be. Whoever is saying that I'm not ready I think is lying."

Pitching coach Dan Warthen said, "As far as I know, [Santana] is right on time."

• Nationals outfielder Mike Morse has been an absolute terror through nine games this spring, going 14-for-28 with five homers, two doubles, 10 RBIs and seven runs scored. He's delivered four straight multi-hit games, and he's cleared the fence in three of his last four. It shouldn't surprise you to learn that Jim Riggleman declared Morse the early leader in the Nats' left field position battle. Take note, NL-only drafters. The soon-to-be 29-year-old hit 15 homers in just 266 at-bats for Washington last season. Morse may eventually qualify at multiple positions, too; he's seen time at first, second, third, short, left and right field in the minors over the past two seasons.

• Keep the Panda in your plans for 2011, gamers. Pablo Sandoval shed nearly 40 pounds this off-season, and his spring has gone rather well to this point. He's batting .325 and slugging .600 through 14 games. Somehow he's managed to swipe two bases, and he tripled against the Rangers on Sunday afternoon. Here's the stunning video evidence.

• Ryan Braun suffered a left rib-cage strain on Saturday while fielding balls during batting-practice. Nothing to fear, however. Both Braun and his manager report that he's feeling just fine. No need to panic or downgrade.

• Entering the weekend, Joe Nathan hadn't yet allowed a hit in his four innings this spring. Exiting the weekend, his spring ERA is 12.46, and he's given up five hits and three walks over 4.1 innings. The Phillies roughed him up just a bit in a third of an inning on Sunday, though it's important to note that his defense did him no favors. Ugly details here.

• OK, you'll probably never believe this, but we swear it's true: Rich Harden can't seem to get healthy. Oakland's theoretical fifth starter hasn't visited a pitching mound this spring, and he apparently suffered a "setback with his lat muscle" on Monday.

• One additional injury note before we turn this thing over to our esteemed commenting community: Javier Vazquez won't make his next scheduled spring appearance due to mild elbow soreness. Never a good thing, elbow discomfort. Vazquez has been relatively impressive in the early weeks, allowing two runs over seven innings while striking out six batters and walking none. Vazquez is still expected to pitch on Saturday, so let's just hope that happens.


Photos via Getty Images

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