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Cleveland Indians

LaPorta demoted to Columbus in surprise move

By Sheldon Published: August 30, 2011

CLEVELAND: Manager Manny Acta said it's wrong to read too much into sending Matt LaPorta to Columbus to make room on the roster for tonight's starter, Jeanmar Gomez.

“”The move is not being made because of Matt’s numbers,’’ Acta said.

Acta said LaPorta was odd man out becasue of injuries and the current makeup of the Tribe roster.

“”We were in a very tough spot because of all the injuries to infielders and outfielders,’’ the manager said this afternoon. “”First base is the only position where we have any depth, with Carlos Santana, Jack Hannahan and Shelley Duncan.

“”And we can’t send a pitcher down. We don’t know how he (Gomez) is going to do. We can’t take a chance on hurting our bullpen.’’

Nevertheless, the move came as a shock, inasmuch as LaPorta has been the club's everyday first baseman for almost two seasons. Acta admitted that LaPorta has not lived up to expectations.

“”He shows flashes, but LaPorta has been very inconsistent,’’ the manager said. “”He needs to work on his plate discipline.’’

LaPorta is batting .238 with 18 doubles, 11 home runs and 44 RBI in 319 at-bats. In his first full major-league season last year, he batted .221 with 15 doubles, 12 homers and 41 RBI in 376 at-bats.

He has improved his statistics marginally in slugging percentage (.404 this year, .362 last year) but his on-base percentage has gone backward (.289 in ’11, .306 in ’10) because of his inability to take a walk (20 this year, 46 last year). “”He’s made some progress, but expectations for a guy like him are higher than that,’’ Acta said. “”Not because of the trade, but because he was a high draft pick, and he cruised through the minors. But so far, this has been a challenge for him.’’

In other news,  Grady Sizemore will start a rehabilitation assignment as Akron's DH Wedneday night.

“”If he gets his final clearance, he will DH tomorrow night then play center field for six innings the next day,’’  Acta said.

Sizemore has been on the disabled list since July 18 with a bone bruise in his right knee and a sports hernia that required surgery.


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