CLEVELAND — Lonnie Chisenhall has hit his way back to the majors.
Batting .390 with six home runs and 26 RBIs in 27 games since his demotion to Triple-A Columbus, Chisenhall was recalled Tuesday and started at third base for the Indians.
“When we sent him down we wanted him to take a deep breath and get his swing in order and he certainly did that,” Francona said of Cleveland’s starting third baseman to start the season, who was sent down after batting just .213 with three homers and 13 RBIs in 26 games. “It gives us a little jolt. He did a real good job of going down and doing exactly what we asked him to do. We want Lonnie do be a big part of what we do here.”
With Nick Swisher’s left shoulder ailing and Mark Reynolds moving from third base to first to replace him, Francona said Chisenhall would be his team’s regular third baseman for now.
Despite a number of opportunities, Chisenhall, 24, has yet to establish himself on the big league level, entering Tuesday with a .250 batting average over 135 games.
That’s part of the excitement of young players is you don’t know what they’re going to grow into,” Francona said of the Indians’ first-round draft choice (29th overall) in 2008. “You let them play and see how good they can get.
“He’s got a gorgeous swing. He’s got tremendous bat speed. I thought he got himself into some positions before he got sent down where he couldn’t show his bat speed, but it’s there.”
Right-hander Chris Perez (right shoulder soreness) endured a brutal rehab appearance Tuesday at Double-A Akron. He allowed five runs on five hits (three homers) and struck out two over just one inning.
Perez told reporters Monday that he expected to be activated Friday, but that plan may change after the disappointing effort.
The Indians entered Tuesday leading the majors with 38 wild pitches — 29 of them with Carlos Santana at catcher.
Francona was asked how much blame the catchers own for the dubious statistic.
“I would say, some,” he said. “We’ve got some guys like (Justin Masterson), guys that balls are moving all over the place. I’ll take the trade off. You could have guys that are throwing 88 (mph) straight and getting whacked around. I’ll take the trade off.”
When pressed on whether he thought Santana blocked the ball adequately, Francona said, “He’s very athletic. He moves laterally about as good as anyone you’re going to see.”
The Royals were impressed by Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco, who worked his best outing in years on the big league level Monday night — allowing just a run on four hits over 7 1/3 innings of a 2-1 loss to KC.
“For a fact, we were glad to see him out of there,” Royals DH Billy Butler said. “He had as good as stuff as I’ve ever seen from him.”
“He didn’t give us anything,” manager Ned Yost said. “His fastball was 95-97 mph, he had a tremendous slider and a nasty, nasty change-up. He handcuffed us for long time and didn’t look anything like his numbers were coming in.”
Carrasco entered the outing with an 0-2 record and 15.26 ERA in two spot starts this year.
Akron shortstop Ronny Rodriguez was named Cleveland’s minor league player of the week (June 11-18) after batting .435 (10-for-23) with four doubles, a triple, five RBIs and five runs in five games. Rodriguez, a non-drafted free-agent acquisition in 2010, entered Tuesday batting .277 with four homers and 32 RBIs in 64 games.
Bench coach Sandy Alomar celebrated his 47th birthday Tuesday. … A number of Browns rookies were in attendance, including first-round draft choice Barkevious Mingo. … Tonight, 7:05, STO/WTAM 1100-AM/WEOL 930-AM. Masterson (8-5, 3.52) vs. Mendoza (2-3, 4.08).
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