Jun 8, 2010, 9:44 AM EST
Matt LaPorta was one of my favorite sleeper picks coming into the season, but he was slowed early on while making his way back from offseason hip surgery and batted just .218 with one homer and a .567 OPS through 35 games before the Indians demoted him to the minors Monday.
Andy Marte came off the disabled list to replace LaPorta on the roster, but doesn’t figure to see much action barring more injuries. If healthy I’m still confident that LaPorta will eventually develop into a power bat and likely middle-of-the-order threat for Cleveland, but for now the Indians will stick with veterans Russell Branyan and Austin Kearns at first base and left field, and perhaps try to cash them in for value at the trade deadline.
LaPorta is 25 years old and already crushed Triple-A pitching, so his return will rely on looking healthy and like his old self. Cleveland won’t give up on him any time soon after acquiring LaPorta as the centerpiece of the CC Sabathia trade to Milwaukee.
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