The Indians recalled Matt LaPorta from Triple-A Columbus today, but it sounds like this could be his last chance to impress the brass in Cleveland.
Talking to MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, manager Manny Acta said he needs better production from the infield corners next season:
“First and third base are positions where we should be looking into improving for next year, whether that’s within or from the outside.”
He’s absolutely right, of course. Indians first basemen are 12th in the AL with a .748 OPS this year, while the team’s third basemen are 10th at .675.
The hope was that Lonnie Chisenhall would be an offensive upgrade from Jack Hannahan after getting the call to take over at the hot corner at the end of June, but the 22-year-old has hit just .226/.260/.377 in 146 at-bats to date, suggesting that he might need a little more Triple-A time next year.
The 26-year-old LaPorta has been a disappointment yet again, hitting .238/.289/.404 in 319 at-bats, and is likely running out of chances. The Indians have gotten solid play from Carlos Santana at first base, but the team doesn’t want to commit to him there just yet. It sounds like he’ll continue to get the majority of his starts at catcher again next season.
The Indians probably won’t want to spend a lot of money to address either position this winter, but they could go hunting for cheap veterans to hold down the fort. Former Indians Casey Blake and Mark DeRosa could be couple of inexpensive possibilities.
Padres’ outfielder Alex Dickerson won’t see PETCO Park anytime soon — at least, not as its starting left fielder. The 27-year-old was diagnosed with a bulging disc in his lower back prior to the start of the 2017 season, and hasn’t made any kind of substantial progress in the months since. According to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune, he suffered a setback in his recovery process last week and is set to undergo a season-ending discectomy next Wednesday.
Over 285 plate appearances, Dickerson batted .257/.333/.455 with 10 home runs and a .788 OPS for the Padres in 2016. He missed several days with a right hip contusion last July, but hasn’t experienced any substantial health problems since undergoing surgery in 2014 to repair a torn ligament in his left ankle.
The expected recovery period for lower back surgery is 3-4 months, according to Lin, which puts Dickerson’s estimated return just a few days before the end of the regular season. The Padres aren’t scraping the bottom of the NL West, but their 29-44 record doesn’t bode well for a postseason run this year. Assuming Dickerson rehabs his back in a timely manner, he should be in fine form to enter the competition for left field next spring.
Hanley Ramirez played a pivotal role during the Red Sox’ 9-4 win over the Angels on Friday night, crushing a two-run homer off of Alex Meyer to bring the Sox up to a four-run lead in the fourth inning.
Well, crushed might be the wrong word. The ball cleared the right field fence with a mere 350 feet, landing just beyond Pesky’s Pole to bring Ramirez’s career home run total to an even 250.
According to the ESPN Home Run Tracker, Ramirez’s milestone blast wasn’t the shortest home run of the year — not by a long shot. That distinction currently belongs to Rays’ outfielder Corey Dickerson, who skimmed the left field fence at Rogers Centre with a 326-foot homer back in April.