The Pittsburgh Pirates began planning for injured right fielder Gregory Polanco’s absence at the start of next season by agreeing to contract terms Monday with veteran outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall, according to multiple media reports.
Chisenhall, 30, missed most of last season with a calf strain that limited him to 29 games with the Cleveland Indians, the team that drafted him in the first round in 2008. He originally was drafted by the Pirates in 2006 but did not sign.
Chisenhall, a left-handed hitter who has displayed modest power in the past, hit .321 last season with a .394 on-base percentage and .452 slugging percentage but only one home run and nine RBIs. His most productive season was 2014, when he hit 13 home runs, with 59 RBIs and a .280 batting average in 142 games. He hit a home run for the Indians against the Boston Red Sox in the 2016 ALDS.
Chisenhall, who also has played first and third base, helps replenish the Pirates’ outfield depth after they traded Jordan Luplow, 25, and infielder Max Moroff to the Indians on Nov. 14.
Polanco is expected to be out until June after undergoing surgery Sept. 12 to repair an acute shoulder dislocation that forced him to miss most of the last month of the season.
In other news, the Pirates hired Jacob Cruz as assistant hitting coach. Cruz, 45, spent the past two seasons in the Chicago Cubs organization as the minor league hitting coordinator last season and the hitting coach with Double-A Tennessee in 2017.
Cruz was a first-round draft choice of the San Francisco Giants in 1994 and spent parts of nine seasons with five major-league teams. including the Colorado Rockies in 2001 when his hitting coach was Pirates manager Clint Hurdle.
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry at [email protected] or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.