When Matt Laporta was optioned to Triple-A Columbus Monday, it would have been understandable if he were bitter.
The Indians first baseman/outfielder was supposed to be the Tribe's everyday first baseman coming out of spring training. But the Indians surprisingly signed veteran Russell Branyan at near the end of spring and that was the end of that idea.
So LaPorta mostly sat. When he did play, he struggled to hit just .218 in 35 games with the Tribe.
But instead of going back to the minors with a bad attitude, LaPorta has joined the Clippers and regained his swing - the very thing that enamored the Tribe brass enough to make him the centerpiece of the trade that sent reigning Cy Young award winner C.C. Sabathia to Milwaukee in 2008.
"I just want to get better," LaPorta told the Columbus Dispatch. "I came down to a ballclub that is doing well. I just want to slide in with the rest of the guys and contribute to this team."
Tuesday LaPorta played left field in a 7-5 loss to the Rochester Red Wings. Although he walked twice, he was hitless in three at-bats.
Wednesday he found his stroke in a big way, going 4-for-4 with three home runs and five RBI in the Clippers 8-0 shutout of visiting Rochester.
"(LaPorta) is a middle-of-the-order guy," Columbus manager Mike Sarbaugh told the Dispatch. "The primary reason he's here is to work on things so he can be that middle-of-the-order guy in the big
leagues. He's only played two full seasons of professional baseball. He's got some development to do, but I see him as a middle-of-the-order guy."