CLEVELAND: Now that Matt LaPorta has been promoted form Columbus to Cleveland, can Michael Brantley be far behind?
And once Brantley is summoned from Triple-A, who will be the next prospect to find his way onto the Indians' roster?
This is, after all, a rebuilding year for the Tribe. At the outset of the season, Russell Branyan, Austin Kearns and even Mark Grudzielanek stood in the way of the kids moving up the ladder. Grudzielanek and Branyan are gone. LaPorta's elevation to the big leagues is the reason Branyan was traded to the Mariners late Saturday night.
It's no secret that Brantley will be here soon, but the mechanics of that move still must be worked out. That is, either Kearns must be traded -- probably the preferable route -- or Trevor Crowe must be sent back to Columbus. But if Crowe returns to Triple-A, Tribe operatives will be denied the chance to continue evaluating his progress in the majors.
""We sent Brantely down to shorten up his swing and get on top of the ball,'' manager Manny Acta said Monday. ""He's been making a lot of progress. Our reports say that he's playing well. So he's close.''
But there are more players to be judged at the major-league level. Asked who else might be on his wasy to Cledvedland, Acta said, ""Wse are monitoring Carlos Carrasco. He's throwsing the ball well down there. he barely missed making the team inm spring rtraining, so he could be one of those guys.''
In 14 starts for the Clippers, Carrasco is 6-23 with a 4.26 earned-run average.
If everyone in the Tribe's rotation is pitching well, will Carrasco be called up anyway?
""Yes, I think that's the right thing to do, the onlly fair thing,'' Acta said. ""That's been the plan with him all along. So we're going to look at him this year.''