MLB Spring Training 2012: Cleveland Indians' Jack Hannahan Wins Third Base Job

Bill FordCorrespondent IIIMarch 29, 2012

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 22: Third baseman Jack Hannahan #9 of the Cleveland Indians throws to first for the out after fielding a ground ball hit by Dayan Viciedo #24 of the Chicago White Sox during the second inning at Progressive Field on September 22, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Cleveland Indians have awarded Jack Hannahan the job at third base after a long spring training battle for the position.

He and Lonnie Chisenhall dueled for the job, and Hannahan came out on top, sending Chisenhall to Triple-A Columbus.

Chisenhall did not perform poorly, but the Indians believe that he needs more time to develop offensively before a permanent call-up to the major league team.

Hannahan has more MLB experience playing for multiple teams over five seasons. His experience includes playing at both corners of the infield at first and third, and at shortstop.

During his five seasons in MLB, he accumulated 272 hits, 69 doubles, four triples, 24 home runs and 130 RBI with a .231 batting average.

Chisenhall made his MLB debut on June 27, 2011, and had 54 hits, 13 doubles, seven home runs and 22 RBI with a .255 batting average.

Cleveland opted to go with a more experienced infielder who is an above-average defender. Chisenhall has the ability to be a powerful player for Cleveland, but he needs more development time in the minor leagues.

Chisenhall struck out 16 times and walked once with a .205 batting average going 8-for-39 in 16 Cactus League games.

Aware that Chisenhall is looked at as the future third baseman, Hannahan believes that he can be  more valuable than just an option for now until Chisenhall is ready to be called up. He has confidence that he can perform and produce offensively and defensively.

Hannahan struggled during a portion of the 2011 season, but made some changes that quickly improved his performance, including switching to a heavier bat. Once he made those changes, he collected 17 RBI with a .368 batting average during his last 26 games in 2011.

Hannahan's MLB experience has enabled him to adapt and overcome adversity, which is a large factor in his triumph this spring training to win the third base job.

Chisenhall has a solid future ahead of him, but Cleveland made the correct decision to go with Hannahan.