ARLINGTON -- It is only two walks. Indians manager Manny Acta is not going to get overly excited, but he is willing to be encouraged by the fact that third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall is showing solid plate discipline.
In three games since returning from the disabled list, following a two-month comeback from a fractured right forearm, Chisenhall has drawn a pair of walks in his nine plate appearances. The 23-year-old third baseman had one walk in his previous 74 plate appearances this season.
"It's encouraging to see," Acta said. "It is always positive when a guy like him, that knows that part of his game needs to improve, is making a conscious effort to get better at it. But no one has asked him to walk. We're asking him to control the strike zone and swing at better pitches.
"By doing that, he's going to increase his ability to hit, and then the walks will show up. It's not something that he doesn't know. But it's encouraging to see that right away, him being back, and in the first few at-bats he's got a couple of good walks."
On the season, Chisenhall is hitting .278 with four home runs and 10 RBIs in 27 games for the Indians. A year ago, in his first taste of the big leagues, he hit .255 with seven homers, 22 RBIs and a .284 on-base percentage across 66 games. Chisenhall's OBP is up to .313 this year.
Among the 68 players with between 250-350 plate appearances in the big leagues over the 2011-12 seasons, Chisenhall is tied for last with 11 walks. Acta believes Chisenhall might have strayed from his approach last year due to putting too much pressure on himself.
"Guys come up here and they want to impress right away sometimes," Acta said. "They think that their opportunities will probably be limited, or they're being evaluated every at-bat. They just want to do well quick and they get out of their comfort zone."
Huff hopes to make most of starting shot
ARLINGTON -- David Huff sees the big picture. The left-hander is not only trying to help the Indians win games down the stretch this season, but he is also trying to make an impression as the ballclub plans for next year.
"I'm trying to get back on the radar," Huff said. "To be honest, for next year, I'm out of options. So it's either I'm going to be playing for these guys or I'm going to be somewhere else. Hopefully, I can put myself in a good position for next year and just finish strong this year."
Since being promoted to Cleveland from Triple-A Columbus on Sept. 4, Huff has turned in six shutout innings between a pair of relief appearances. In Wednesday's 5-2 loss to the Rangers, Huff logged 2 2/3 scoreless frames with a pair of strikeouts against Texas slugger Josh Hamilton.
Huff went 7-6 with a 4.97 ERA in 24 games for Columbus this season.
After spending his career as a starter, the pitcher is becoming open-minded about possibly working as a reliever in the future.
"Just as long as I'm in the big leagues," said Huff, who has gone 16-25 with a 5.37 ERA in 51 career big league outings over the past four seasons. "That's all that matters."
The Indians still view Huff as a starting pitcher, though. That is why Indians manager Manny Acta made it known on Thursday that the lefty is moving into the rotation. Huff will start for the Tribe on Tuesday against the Twins, replacing Jeanmar Gomez on the starting staff. Gomez will shift to the bullpen.
Huff will make at least two starts before the season ends.
"It presented itself that he pitched out of the 'pen," Acta said of Huff. "But he didn't come over here to get a look as a bullpen guy. We've always seen him as a starter. ... We're going to give David an opportunity to start in that spot."
Timetable for Asdrubal's return remains uncertain
ARLINGTON -- Asdrubal Cabrera wants to return to the Indians' lineup as soon as possible, but it remains unclear how much more recovery time the shortstop will require before coming back from his right wrist injury.
"I want to come back," Cabrera said. "I want to finish strong. We've got almost three weeks left, so I want to be 100 percent to finish the season."
Cabrera was out of the Indians' lineup on Thursday for the fourth consecutive game, and he is scheduled to have his ailing hand re-examined on Friday in Cleveland. The shortstop is scheduled to meet with an associate of hand specialist Dr. Thomas Graham.
Prior to Thursday's game against the Rangers, the switch-hitting Cabrera tested his wrist by hitting from the left side. Batting lefty -- with his sore wrist on the bottom of the bat handle -- has caused more discomfort than batting righty.
Cabrera, who said his hand felt slighly improved, has been bothered off and on by the wrist for most of September.
On the season, the All-Star shortstop is hitting .267 with 14 home runs and 56 RBIs in 128 games for Cleveland. Cabrera has slumped over his past 59 games, hitting just .228 with three homers and 16 RBIs over that span. In the previous 69 games, Cabrera hit at a .300 clip with 11 homers and 40 RBIs for the Tribe.
Quote to note
"You can't concentrate so much just on stats. Stats alone are not going to impress us. We know which stats to look at and how you go about your business. That's what we look at."
-- Indians manager Manny Acta, on evaluating players
If the Indians exercise the 2013 club option ($5.75 million) for pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, his contract will also include a mutual option ($8 million) for 2014. The '14 option was originally a club option, but was renegotiated after Jimenez was traded from Colorado to Cleveland last season.
Indians center fielder Michael Brantley was a late scratch from Thursday's lineup against the Rangers due to left pectoral muscle soreness. Ezequiel Carrera replaced Brantley in center field and hit leadoff for the Tribe.
Akron (Cleveland's Double-A affiliate) defeated Trenton, 7-5, on Wednesday to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five Eastern League championship. First baseman Jesus Aguilar contributed a two-run home run. The series will resume on Friday in Trenton, N.J.