CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Abraham Almonte may not be long for the Indians 25-man roster with fellow outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall beckoning.
Terry Francona said Wednesday that, following a rehab start in Akron, all signs point to the lefty being activated for Thursday’s series finale against the White Sox. Most likely, Almonte will be the man whose roster spot is sacrificed.
In his seven games since the start of the season, Almonte has shown great improvement as a hitter. Of course, no one’s hitting prowess can be judged on the back of seven appearances, but perhaps the outfielder’s biggest weakness at the dish is what has been shored up, almost completely to this point.
In 16 plate appearances entering Wednesday, Almonte has seen 3-ball counts 10 times. He has worked five walks, three shy over seven games of his mark through 67 games last season.
That plate discipline has served well out of the 9-hole in AL ballparks, creating the approach of a second leadoff spot before resetting the lineup.
Terry Francona was not willing to say that Almonte has changed his daily approach or that the 9-hole has forced him to become a more patient hitter, but the manager did acknowledge the 27-year old’s improvements.
“I do think he is aware of trying to get pitches that he can hit, and I think through that, he is laying off of more, especially breaking balls that he has more of a tendency to chase,” Tito said. “He has had deep-count at-bats and I think it serves him well. No matter what his batting average is after a week, his at-bats have served him well.”
Like Carlos Santana and his move from being a cleanup hitter to a leadoff hitter, Almonte’s repurposing could add potential value to his team in time to change a potential reassignment before it happens.
It also may not matter outside of the surface improvement, as Francona added that patience is not just the mark of a leadoff or second-leadoff, rather just a good hitter.
“I don’t know that it necessarily has to be the back end,” he said. “Every hitter is different and they have to hit how they hit, but seeing a lot of pitches normally is good for guys. The more pitches they see, usually the more dangerous they get. It’s probably means they’re swinging at more strikes, laying off of more balls. I would say it’s generally a good thing anyway.”