The Indians announced to reporters today that outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall will miss the next eight to 10 weeks due to a Grade 3 strain of his left calf muscle (Twitter link via Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon-Journal). That timeline will keep Chisenhall on the shelf until at least early September, and if there are any setbacks along the way in his recovery, it could potentially jeopardize the remainder of his season.
It’s a tough loss for the Indians, to be sure. While Chisenhall has been quite prone to injury over the past two seasons, he’s also been an extremely productive hitter when on the field, slashing .297/.368/.503 with 13 homers, 23 doubles and a pair of triples through 365 plate appearances. He was limited to 82 games last season by a concussion, a shoulder sprain and a calf strain, and this will now be his second extended absence of the 2018 season due to a calf injury.
Cleveland has recently been relying on Michael Brantley, Greg Allen and Tyler Naquin in the outfield, with Brandon Guyer and Rajai Davis also representing options on the big league roster. Former first-rounder Bradley Zimmer also remains on hand as an option at the Triple-A level.
For Chisenhall himself, the timing could scarcely be worse. He’s just months away from free agency, and in a best-case scenario, he’d have roughly four weeks to demonstrate his health to teams before the end of the season. He’s already been limited to a mere 95 PAs in 2018, and it’s now quite possible that he’ll head into free agency having played somewhere in the vicinity of 130 to 140 games combined in the two-year platform to his first trip to the open market. Given his success at the plate dating back to 2016 and the fact that he’ll be 30 years old for all of the 2019 season, Chisenhall should still find Major League offers on the market, but his stock is obviously weakened handily by what is now his third calf injury of the past calendar year.