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Pittsburgh Pirates sign Cleveland Indians free agent Lonnie Chisenhall to 1-year deal

CLEVELAND, Ohio – On Monday two of the Indians 12 free agents agreed to terms with other teams.

First, Josh Donaldson signed a one-year $23 million deal with Atlanta. Then Lonnie Chisenhall reportedly signed a one-year $2.75 million deal with the Pirates.

Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic was the first to report the Chisenhall deal.

Chisenhall, the Indians No.1 pick in 2008, played just 29 games last season because of injuries to both calves. He played just 82 games in 2017, missing most of the second half of the season, with a strained right calf.

When he was healthy this year, Chisenhall hit the ball well. He batted .321 (27-for-84) with one homer and nine RBI. In 2017 he was leading the Indians in RBI at the All-Star break, but injured his calf right before the break and was never a factor after that.

Chisenhall’s contract contains $3 million in incentives based on plate appearances from 250 to 600. Durability, however, has been a problem for Chisenhall. Last season Chisenhall went on the DL with a strained left calf on July 3 and did not play again. He did not join the team for the postseason as well.

For the last six years manager Terry Francona used him mostly as a platoon player against right-handed hitters. Since playing 142 games in 2014, Chisenhall has never played more than 126 games in a season.

The Indians drafted Chisenhall, 30, as a third baseman. That’s where he played from 2011 until he was optioned to Class AAA Columbus in 2015. When he returned after the All-Star break, Chisenhall moved to right field and has played there ever since.

The Indians still have 10 free agents on the market — Andrew Miller, Cody Allen, Michael Brantley, Josh Tomlin, Brandon Guyer, Rajai Davis, Oliver Perez, Adam Rosales, Melky Cabrera and Brandon Barnes.

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