CLEVELAND: The Indians sent right-hander Frank Herrmann back to Triple-A Columbus and promoted Matt LaPorta, whom manager Manny Acta installed at first base Friday night.
Why the move? The Tribe has been carrying an extra relief pitcher the past couple of weeks and feels the bullpen has regained the stability to return staffing to the normal seven.
“LaPorta will get plenty of at-bats,” Acta said. “He’ll play first base and do some DH-ing. He didn’t play as much in left field at Triple-A the past couple of months.”
Will this be the organization’s final assessment of LaPorta before deciding to keep him or let him go?
“I think he deserves an extended look the rest of the year,” Acta said. “I’m not one to use the word final on a kid who’s not yet 30 years old.”
LaPorta has been seriously ignored by the Tribe whenever the club recalled an outfielder, DH or first baseman. At Columbus, LaPorta batted .264 with 19 home runs and 62 RBI in 101 games.
NEW LIFE — In Derek Lowe’s last two months with the Indians, he compiled a 2-7 record and 7.91 ERA, which is why he no longer pitches for the Tribe.
He was signed by the New York Yankees, moved to the bullpen and has pitched four times, giving up two runs in 7⅓ innings. Lowe has worked as a reliever before and knew if he got another job, he would be given that role.
“Anywhere I signed, that’s where I was going to pitch,” he said. “There were four or five teams that wanted me, but only the Yankees wanted me right now, today.”
What went wrong in Cleveland?
“I’m the world’s worst tinkerer and tinkered myself into the worst two months of my career,” he said. “Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”
After packing up his house in Cleveland, Lowe went home and studied video, then tried to correct the flaws that he discovered. It took three days.
“I can’t believe how bad I was and all the stuff I was doing,” he said.
COACH TAKES A LEAVE — First base coach Tom Wiedebauer left the team because of a death in the family. He will return Sunday. In his absence, Sandy Alomar will coach first. Tim Tolman, last year’s bench coach, was brought in to take over for Alomar as bench coach.
FARM FACTS — Tim Fedroff hit his ninth home run of the season in Columbus’ 10-3 loss to Toledo in Class AAA. … Tony Wolters hit his sixth homer of the year, driving in three runs, as Carolina lost 7-5 to Potomac in Class A. Giovanny Urshela tripled and doubled. … Luis DeJesus gave up one run and three hits in six innings, as Mahoning Valley lost 2-1 to Batavia in Class A.
— Sheldon Ocker