CLEVELAND -- The Indians want Matt LaPorta to receive consistent at-bats. On Monday, they optioned the first baseman/left fielder to Triple-A Columbus for precisely that purpose.
With the Indians activating infielder Andy Marte from the disabled list before their series opener against the Red Sox at Progressive Field, the roster casualty was the 25-year-old LaPorta.
"We just don't think there are enough at-bats for him," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "The way that [Austin] Kearns has swung the bat, and the way that we arranged for Russell [Branyan] to play about five games a week, it's not fair to the kid. We feel like he should be down there playing every day until we can find enough at-bats for him."
A touted acquisition in the 2008 trade that sent CC Sabathia to the Brewers, LaPorta has batted .218 (26-for-119) with one home run and seven RBIs in 35 games for the Tribe this season.
"We did give him an opportunity at the beginning, and he was getting some at-bats," Acta said. "It's just not fair to him. Whether you're developing or not, you still want to put the best team out there on the field. He needs to go down there, get at-bats, improve and then, later on, if anything happens up here, he can come up and play every day. Right now, with Kearns hitting third, Branyan being one of our threats and Travis [Hafner] being our DH, at-bats are not there for him."
With the Clippers, LaPorta will split time defensively between first base and left field, though Acta views the young slugger as a future first baseman.
"Looking down the road here, with Michael Brantley probably joining this ballclub at some point, we'll probably look at him as a first baseman," said Acta. "That's where we'll probably have a spot for him."
Marte activated off 15-day disabled list
CLEVELAND -- Though later than he anticipated, Andy Marte's stint on the disabled list came to a welcome conclusion Monday, when the Indians activated the reserve infielder before their series opener against the Red Sox at Progressive Field.
Cleveland placed Marte on the 15-day DL on May 15 (retroactive to May 12) with a non-baseball medical issue involving an infection of ingrown hair in his stomach. The 26-year-old underwent surgery to address the condition, which he declined to specify.
"I was in a lot of pain and throwing up," said Marte, who went 2-for-4 in a rehabilitation appearance for Class A Lake County on Sunday. "I don't know how I got it. It just happened."
A pair of conflicting medical opinions delayed Marte's return to the active roster.
"The first doctor said, 'In one week, you're going to be back,'" Marte said. "I was like, 'All right.' Then I went to see another doctor and he said I should sit out another week. That's why they held me back."
Marte has batted .208 (5-for-24) with one home run and seven RBIs in 15 games for the Tribe this season, playing both corner infield spots.
"I'll just to continue doing what I was doing before I got hurt and see how it goes," Marte said.
John Barone is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.