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Valbuena back with Tribe on merit

By sstorm Published: July 9, 2011

Luis Valbuena made his first plate appearance this season for the Tribe Saturday, starting at second base in place of veteran Orlando Cabrera, who had the day off.

Originally a shortstop, Valbuena has become a super utility man who has logged time at Triple-A
Columbus at second base, third base, shortstop, left field and designated hitter.

Valbuena made his debut with the Indians in 2009 after being traded to Cleveland the previous season in the deal that sent outfielder Franklin Gutierrez to the Mariners. He earned everyday playing time last year to start the season, but struggled in hitting just .193 and was sent down to Columbus.

That’s where Valbuena began to redeem himself this season, batting .313 with 19 doubles, 12 home runs, 56 RBI and 48 runs scored in 77 games before earning another much-deserved promotion.

“We had a lot of good reports from our minor league staff,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “(Triple-A manager) Mike Sarbaugh was very happy the way Luis played there defensively and offensively. (Valbuena) earned it and I‘m proud of him. I let him know too, because when we called up (second baseman Cord) Phelps, he never put his head down. He went out there and continued to perform and pretty much was carrying that ball club for a period of time.”


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