Tribe calls up prized prospect Marson
Recent acquisition could be starting catcher in 2010
CLEVELAND -- For the moment, Lou Marson is merely the fourth catcher added to a Tribe roster bursting with backstops.But given Kelly Shoppach's arbitration situation (not to mention his offensive woes), Wyatt Toregas' projection as more of a backup backstop and Chris Gimenez's projection as a utility man, Marson's promotion from Triple-A Columbus is a significant one for the Indians. This very well might be fans' first look at the guy who will be handling the regular catching duties at the outset of 2010. For now, however, Marson, who was one of four prospects acquired from the Phillies in the Cliff Lee trade, needs to get acclimated to his new surroundings. Marson had some help in that department, as the Indians called him up a day earlier than originally speculated so he could be in the starting lineup with fellow former Phillies player, Carlos Carrasco, who was scheduled to start against the Rangers. Due to Monday's rainout, Marson and Carrasco are expected to be the starting battery for Game 1 of Tuesday's doubleheader.
"I've been catching him since 2004 in the Gulf Coast League," Marson said of Carrasco. "I'm tougher on him than I am on some of the other guys."What will be tough for Marson in the coming weeks is getting to know the other pitchers he'll be working with. September will have a bit of a Spring Training feel for him, in that sense. "To be honest with you, it's going to take a while to learn not only their names, but what they throw," Marson said. "It's not one of those things that happens overnight." And the Indians aren't asking Marson, who made eight total appearances with the Phillies in 2008 and early this season, to be an overnight sensation. He won't be in the lineup every day. Rather, manager Eric Wedge said he'll pick his spots with his catchers from here on out. When Marson gets the starting nod, he hopes to build on the strengths he's showed in the Minor Leagues. He comes with a reputation as a solid game-caller with a leadership personality. As far as the 23-year-old Marson's offense is concerned, he batted a combined .277 with 18 doubles, two home runs and 33 RBIs in 91 games with Triple-A Lehigh Valley in the Phillies' organization and Columbus. Known as a contact hitter and not a power guy, he had a .361 on-base percentage. "He's still developing in all areas of his game," Wedge said. "But we think he has a chance to be a good hitter, too." Before the '09 season, Baseball America ranked Marson as the third-best prospect in the Phillies' organization and the 66th overall prospect in baseball. He was a fourth-round pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft. Marson, Carrasco, infielder Jason Donald and right-hander Jason Knapp were the four players acquired in the July 29 trade that sent Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco to Philadelphia. Donald probably would have been among the callups, but he recently suffered a lower back injury that is expected to prevent him from getting the call. Knapp has been shut down with a shoulder issue, and the Indians still are in the process of determining if the injury will require surgery. Marson was the fifth player the Indians promoted from Columbus since rosters expanded on Tuesday. Wedge said one more player will be added on Tuesday, as the Columbus season was set to wrap up Monday night.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.