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Indians’ LaPorta Has Surgery on Left Hip

Outfielder to miss 3-4 months rehabbing following arthroscopic surgery

 

 

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Matt LaPorta already had a difficult offseason ahead of him following a very disappointing 2012 season with the Cleveland Indians. The big right hander spent most of the year in Triple-A Columbus trying to find his swing as he continued to struggle against Major-League pitching when he was called up to play first base and left field for the Indians. On Friday the Tribe announced that his offseason just got a lot tougher as LaPorta underwent an arthroscopic surgical procedure on his left hip for the second time in his career and will need 3 to 4 months to rehab. If all goes well, LaPorta could be healthy enough to compete for a spot on the 2013 ball club come March.

LaPorta has never developed into the power-hitting first baseman the Indians thought they were getting when they received him from Milwaukee in the CC Sabathia trade of 2008. Instead, LaPorta has spent much of the past four seasons bouncing between the Tribe and the Columbus Clippers, making only sporadic appearances when Travis Hafner has been injured and the Indians have been in need of another right handed bat. LaPorta finished the 2012 campaign with a .241 average, one homer and five RBIs. For Columbus, he hit .264 with 19 homers, 19 doubles and 62 RBIs. The Indians are hopeful that he can finally make the transition to the big leagues this spring as they are in desperate need at several positions that LaPorta could easily fill.

The Indians currently have Casey Kotchman on their roster as their starting first baseman, but Kotchman is eligible for free agency this offseason, and it is unlikely that the Indians will pick up his option for 2013 considering their need for starting pitching will see them trying to find money to bring in at least one veteran arm. That means LaPorta has a legitimate shot to make the ball club next year provided that he figures out how to hit this offseason. The Tribe is also looking for someone to play at left field considering they started everyone from Shelley Duncan to Johnny Damon to Aaron Cunningham to Ezequiel Carrera there this past season. And let’s not forget about Hafner, who spent a good chunk of the 2012 campaign riding the pine on the disabled list again and is owed $13 million in 2013. The Indians will likely cut ties with their veteran DH this winter and will need a big bat to step up and take his place as well since they are not likely to test the free agent waters to find a replacement.

 

 

By Robert Gonzalez
Cleveland Indians Correspondent

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