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Pirates GM Neal Huntington: Lonnie Chisenhall will bring versatility to lineup

Jerry DiPaola
| Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018, 12:51 p.m.
FILE - In this Feb. 26, 2018, file photo, Cleveland Indians outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall runs to the dugout during a spring training baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers in Maryvale, Ariz. Chisenhall has agreed to a $2.75 million, one-year contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates, leaving the Indians after eight seasons. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 26, 2018, file photo, Cleveland Indians outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall runs to the dugout during a spring training baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers in Maryvale, Ariz. Chisenhall has agreed to a $2.75 million, one-year contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates, leaving the Indians after eight seasons. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
Cleveland Indians' Lonnie Chisenhall hits an RBI single during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Cleveland Indians' Lonnie Chisenhall hits an RBI single during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington believes the signing of veteran outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall not only will help the Pirates while Gregory Polanco recovers from shoulder surgery, but later on next season, too.

“Lonnie Chisenhall adds an experienced, productive and versatile player to our Major League Team,” said Huntington, who confirmed Tuesday that Chisenhall agreed to terms of a one-year contract. “When healthy, Lonnie has been a quality hitter while offering defensive flexibility. He also provides us an immediate option in right field while Gregory Polanco is getting healthy and his abilities and versatility will make our club better once Polanco returns.”

Chisenhall is primarily an outfielder, but he has played first and third base while spending his entire big league career with the Cleveland Indians. Since the start of the 2016 season, he has made 222 appearances in the outfield, 10 at first base and one at third base. Overall in the majors, Chisenhall has made 341 appearances at third base, 242 in right field, 21 in center field, 21 at first base and 11 in left field.

When healthy, Chisenhall, 30, has proven to be a reliable hitter. He hit .321 (27 for 84) in 29 games last season, but he didn’t play the rest of the year after he suffered a left calf injury July 2. He also missed two months between April 8 and June 4 due to a strained right calf. He was the Indians’ top prospect entering the 2011 season and has produced a career average of .268 with 64 homers and 296 RBIs in 688 major-league games. In 2014, he set career highs in games (142), runs (62), doubles (29), home runs (13) and RBIs (59).

The Pirate originally drafted Chisenhall with an 11th-round pick in 2006, but he didn’t sign. He was the Indians’ first round choice (29 th overall) two years later.

To make room on the 40-man roster, the Pirates designated right-handed pitcher Alex McRae for assignment.

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry at jdipaola@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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