CINCINNATI: The Indians waited until after midnight Sunday to announce a trade with Seattle for first baseman Russell Branyan, and Matt LaPorta arrived here from Columbus at 2 a.m.
In exchange for the veteran left-handed slugger, the Tribe received two minor leaguers: outfielder Ezequiel Carrera, 22, currently on the minor-league disabled list with a hip pointer, and 21-year-old shortstop Juan Diaz.
However, in the here and now, the deal was made to find playing time for LaPorta.
""Obviously, that was the most important part of this whole ordeal,'' said manager Manny Acta, referring to the team's poor season. ""Things didn't work out the way we thought. But I'm happy that Matt will be playing on an everyday basis.''
LaPorta was sent back to Triple-A on June 7, because Tribe officials determined that it was more important to play Branyan at first.
""Like I told Matt when he went down, we just didnt have enough at-bats for him then,'' Acta said.
In 18 games with the Clippers, LaPorta batted .362 with five home runs and 16 RBI.
Carrera was batting .268 at Triple-A Tacoma with 24 runs, six doubles and 18 RBI in 64 games. Before the season, he was ranked as the Mariners' 15th best prospect by Baseball America. Last year, he won the Southern League batting title.
Diaz was batting .295 with 39 runs, eight doubles, seven homers and 41 RBI in 70 games at Class High Desert of the California League. He also has eight steals in 10 attempts.
Carrera will be assigned to Columbus when he comes off the DL (in about a week), and Diaz will go to Kinston.