ARLINGTON -- Wednesday marked the two-year anniversary of one of the biggest trades in Tribe history -- the deal that sent CC Sabathia to the Brewers for a package of four Minor Leaguers.With Sabathia, a workhorse in the front of their rotation, the Brewers reached the postseason for the first time in 25 years, only to be bounced in the first round by the Phillies. Sabathia left in free agency, and the Brewers did not receive any first-round Draft pick compensation for him. They did, however, receive two second-round picks, and they used them to take outfielders Kentrail Davis and Maxwell Walla. The Indians are just now getting a real gauge on what they acquired, as Michael Brantley and Matt LaPorta (once he's recovered from Monday's head contusion) are getting their first legit opportunities to play every day at one position. LaPorta is batting .242 in the big leagues this season but .333 with four homers since his recall from Columbus on June 27. Brantley is 1-for-his-last-18 in the Majors this year. LaPorta said he doesn't feel added pressure to live up to the hype of being a high-profile trade acquisition. "At the time [of the trade], I did," he said. "But not now. I think people have already pretty much forgotten about it." The Indians also received right-handed reliever Rob Bryson, who had shoulder surgery in 2008 and is 2-1 with a 2.50 ERA in 11 appearances since a recent promotion from Class A Lake County to High-A Kinston. Left-hander Zach Jackson, considered a throw-in at the time of the deal, made 12 appearances for the Tribe over the '08 and '09 seasons and is now in the Blue Jays' farm system.
LaPorta deemed not ready to return to lineup
ARLINGTON -- Matt LaPorta passed his neuropsychological test and began doing some very light cardio exercises, but he was still not deemed ready to return to the Indians' lineup on Wednesday night.LaPorta, who suffered a head contusion when Elvis Andrus' elbow clipped him in the back of the head on Monday night, was expected to do a little more cardio work before Wednesday's game. But as far as getting back on the field is concerned, manager Manny Acta said it is a "day to day" situation. "Our medical staff thought it's not the best thing to get him out there just yet," Acta said. "We want to give him as much time as he needs." LaPorta said he has not suffered any headaches the last two days. "Everything's good," he said. "I don't know exactly when I'll be back in the lineup." LaPorta was hot before the injury, batting .333 (10-for-33) with four homers and nine RBIs in nine games since his June 27 recall from Triple-A Columbus.
Nix fitting right in with Tribe
ARLINGTON -- Now we're starting to see why the Indians were keeping tabs on Jayson Nix in Spring Training.The Tribe knew there might be a scenario in which Nix was dispensable for the White Sox. And when that scenario did indeed play out late last month and Nix was designated for assignment, the Indians grabbed him on waivers. Less than two weeks later, Nix has become the Indians' starting second baseman and No. 2 hitter, and he had hit three homers in his last two games, entering Wednesday. Nix, a 27-year-old native of nearby Dallas, said he has benefited from his first real opportunity to claim an everyday job in the Majors. "Last year, there were a couple times where I maybe played for a week straight because somebody was hurt," Nix said. "I've never had an opportunity like this. It's a long season, as everybody knows. It helps to get consistent at-bats. That makes a huge difference." In 35 games over nearly three months with the White Sox, Nix received just 87 at-bats and hit .163 with a .513 OPS. Over 11 games in less than two weeks with the Tribe, he's received 38 at-bats and hit .316 with a 1.091 OPS. On some level, manager Manny Acta is not at all surprised by the production he's received from Nix, a first-round Draft pick by the Rockies in 2001. "This guy was one of the top 50 players in the nation when he was drafted," Acta said. "A lot of it is being in the right place at the right time. He's not even 30 years old. Any time you're picked in the first round or sandwich round, enough people thought you were going to be a good player."
In the 10 games leading into Wednesday's action, the Indians had scored 42 runs, with 21 coming from home runs. They hit 14 homers in that span. ... The Indians have lost nine of their last 12 road games. ... For more on the Tribe, visit the CastroTurf blog.