LaPorta's return to Indians fast approaching

LaPorta's return to Indians fast approaching

LaPorta's return to Indians fast approaching
SAN FRANCISCO -- Sidelined first baseman Matt LaPorta will be reunited with the Indians on Friday, when the club heads to Cincinnati. Cleveland is hoping LaPorta's return from the disabled list will come shortly thereafter.

LaPorta -- on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right ankle -- is scheduled to take batting practice on the field with the team next weekend in Cincinnati. The first baseman is no longer wearing the walking boot that he sported for much of the past week.

"He'll be able to hit batting practice," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "Then we'll go from there."

LaPorta, who injured his ankle while running the bases in a game against the Pirates on June 17, will be eligible to be activated from the DL on July 4, when the Tribe opens a seven-game homestand. The Indians have yet to determine if LaPorta will need a Minor League rehab assignment.

"Let's see him hit in batting practice first," Acta said.

Through 59 games this season, LaPorta was hitting .242, with eight home runs, 10 doubles and 31 RBIs for the Indians. Considering the Tribe lost right fielder Shin-Soo Choo to a broken left thumb on Friday, Acta is looking forward to having LaPorta's bat back in the lineup.

"It'll be big," Acta said. "Especially now that Choo is not here and him being a right-handed bat in the middle of all those guys. We're going to have to see how he is after the layoff."