Transactions: The Picture is Clearing

Jack Hannahan has won back the third base job.

The Indians are slowly but surely setting their roster. The first open spot to be occupied is third base:

Optioned 3B Lonnie Chisenhall to Columbus (AAA)

Either Lonnie Chisenhall was going to start at third, with Jack Hannahan as a reserve infielder, or Hannahan was going to start with Chisenhall sent to AAA. The Indians chose the latter, for a couple reasons. First, Chisenhall isn't a finished product. He had a very poor spring, striking out 16 times in 39 at-bats. And of course, Hannahan is more than just not-Chisenhall; he's a fine defender at third and hits left-handers well. If he can hit, he'll be more than just a stopgap.

Hannahan winning the starting job probably means that Jose Lopez will make the Opening Day roster, though the Indians don't have to add another infielder. Jason Donald has been groomed all spring to back up at multiple positions, so they could get away with just one backup for the middle infield positions. But it's more like they go with two infielders on the bench, and if so Lopez is making the club, especially after Cord Phelps was optioned last week.

Optioned 1B Matt LaPorta to Columbus (AAA)

This was planned from the time the Indians signed Casey Kotchman, but all the same, Matt's very poor performance this spring lowered expectations, if that were possible. He's going to have to hit his way back to the majors, and there's no guarantee that he'll be called up if Kotchman gets hurt.


The Indians still have to choose a starting left fielder and a fourth outfielder. Shelley Duncan is emerging by default as the starter, distancing himself easily from the rest of the crowd. The fourth outfielder will probably be named at the last minute, with Aaron Cunningham and Felix Pie as the leading candidates; Cunningham because he's out of options, and Pie because of upside. Frankly, whoever is named the fourth outfielder will have won the job by being the best of a poor lot. The Indians are going to monitor the waiver-wire over the next week, hoping that they won't have to choose from among the current candidates.

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