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Cleveland Indians

LaPorta, Valbuena get first shot at bigs

By Sheldon Published: May 1, 2009

You want moves? Eric Wedge will give you moves.

After Friday night's 6-5 win over the Tigers, the Indians' skipper announced three roster moves involving six players.

Arriving today from Columbus will be the club's No. 1 prospect, left fielder Matt LaPorta, plus infielders Luis Valbuena and Josh Barfield

To make room for them, right-hander Joe Smith will go on the disabled list (retroactive to Wednesday) with a sore right rotator cuff; outfielder Trevor Crowe was optioned to Columbus and veteran utility infielder Tony Graffanino was designated for assignment, which means the Tribe has 10 days to trade him or get him through waivers, so he can be sent to Triple-A. 

"We want Trevor to play every day,'' Wedge said. ""And Joe has had some soreness in his shoulder. We don't think he'll have to spend too long on the DL. He's a guy who definitely can help us.''

There are currently no plans to have a doctor examine Smith's shoulder, so the injury is not regarded as serious. 

LaPorta has gotten off to a good start in Triple-A, batting .352 with five home runs and 14 RBI in 71 at-bats.

"LaPorta will complement David Dellucci,'' Wedge said. ""He's been hitting very well down there. This is a good time to get him up here with (Travis) Hafner out. So LaPorta will get to play.'' 

Hafner, the team's designated hitter, will be out at least two weeks and maybe more because of soreness in his surgically repaired shoulder.

Valbuena was batting .311 with two homers,10 RBI in 74 at-bats in Columbus, playing third, second and short. Wedge said he probably will concentrate on the left side of the infield.

Barfield will resume his role as a pinch runner, but he can fill in at second base or the outfield.

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