Marson improving at plate with regular play

Marson improving at plate with regular play

Marson improving at plate with regular play
CLEVELAND -- Baseball is a game of opportunity. For Indians catcher Lou Marson, his opportunity to show something to the ballclub came after a freak injury to first baseman Matt LaPorta happened during a unique part in the season's schedule.

Cleveland lost LaPorta to a right ankle injury on Friday, forcing the Tribe to rely more on regular catcher Carlos Santana as a first baseman. Now, with no designated hitter available during the club's upcoming nine-game swing through National League ballparks, Santana is set to continue to see a bulk of his playing time in the field.

Marson will be left to handle the majority of the action behind the plate.

"This is a good opportunity for us to play Lou more often," Indians manager Manny Acta said on Wednesday. "Lou's a guy who we all think has a chance to be an everyday catcher at the big league level. We don't see Lou as just a backup guy."

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Entering Wednesday's home game against the Rockies, Marson was hitting just .235 with no home runs and seven RBIs over 26 games for Cleveland this season. A funny thing has happened recently, though. As Marson's playing time has increased, so has his offensive production.

Marson had recorded at least one hit in seven of his last eight games, entering Wednesday. During that span, the catcher had hit at a .333 (9-for-27) clip for the Tribe. In the process, his season average has climbed steadily since June 8, when it stood at only .185 on the year.

"I think that's the case for just about everybody," Acta said. "It does help to be out there more often."

The Indians feel that Marson's offense is the main area in need of improvement.

Defensively, Marson has proved sound in calling games and throwing out runners. Entering Wednesday, he ranked first in the Majors with a caught-stealing rate of 52 percent (13 runners thrown out in 27 chances). His 33.8 caught-stealing percentage led all AL catchers in 2010.

"He's got good hands," Acta said. "He's very good calling a ballgame and he's got a very quick release. He proved that last year. He's caught his whole life. He's still developing as a hitter -- we knew that -- but he's got a chance to be a good one."

The Indians view LaPorta as their everyday first baseman, when healthy. Acta was asked, however, if offensive improvement from Marson might convince the team to play him more often behind the plate, keeping Santana at first on a more regular basis.

"It's just like every one of the guys in the Minor Leagues," Acta said. "Those guys make the decisions for us. We can sit and talk about all that stuff here, but at the end of the day, we all know that Lou is going to have to develop as a hitter to be an everyday catcher in the American League."