Indians Call up LaPorta, Damon on Paternity Leave
The Cleveland Indians have called up Matt LaPorta from Triple-A Columbus to replace outfielder Johnny Damon, who became the father of twin daughters on Friday. Damon has flown to Florida to be with his wife and new daughters, and will be given a 3-day leave before returning to action on Wednesday in Detroit.
LaPorta has had success for Columbus this season after a disappointing 2011 stint with the Indians that saw him hit .247 with 11 homers and 53 RBIs over 107 games. This year at Triple-A, he is hitting .307 with 14 homers and 32 RBIs in 46 games. These are numbers that the Indians would like to see translate to the big league level if LaPorta has any chance of staying with the club this season. LaPorta was the key acquisition in the trade that sent CY Young winner CC Sabathia to Milwaukee back in 2008 and the Indians had hoped that he would develop into a power-hitting first baseman a-la Jim Thome, something the club has been looking for since Thome’s departure in 2002.
So far the LaPorta experiment has been a major let down for the Tribe, and has not been able to figure out the pitching at the big league level. He gives the club another option at both first base and in the outfield, and he could also be a viable option at DH if he can prove that he has made the necessary adjustments at the plate to hit big league pitching on a consistent basis. If he hasn’t, don’t expect to see him hanging around much past Wednesday when Damon returns as the Indians will also get Carlos Santana back this week which will require another roster move, and at this point Jose Lopez and Juan Diaz are much better options off the bench for the Tribe than LaPorta.
By Robert Gonzalez