One day after getting Travis Hafner back from the disabled list, the Indians will now have to get by without another one of their regulars.
The Indians announced this afternoon that Matt LaPorta was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right ankle.
LaPorta injured the ankle in a rundown between second and third base in the third inning of last night’s game against the Pirates. Indians manager Manny Acta told Jordan Bastian of MLB.com this afternoon that LaPorta suffered a “mild high ankle sprain” and is expected to miss 2-3 weeks.
Travis Buck, who was sent down to Triple-A Columbus when Hafner was activated yesterday, will replace LaPorta on the active roster. He is expected to share playing time at first base with Carlos Santana and possibly Jack Hannahan moving forward. Nick Johnson is currently playing with Triple-A Columbus, but Acta said Saturday that he needs more at-bats. Santana will get the start at first base tonight.
LaPorta, 26, is batting .242/.309/.424 with eight home runs and 31 RBI over his first 220 plate appearances this season.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.