Frustrated LaPorta needs to deliver results

Frustrated LaPorta needs to deliver results

CHICAGO -- Matt LaPorta had little to complain about on Friday afternoon. The first baseman was called back to the big leagues and, more importantly, he is a proud new father to a healthy baby girl.

Both developments have helped erase the sting of his demotion to Triple-A Columbus on Aug. 30 in the midst of a disappointing season in the batter's box. Expectations were high for LaPorta this year, but the first baseman insists that no one set the bar higher than he did for himself.

"For me personally, it's been kind of frustrating," LaPorta said of his season to date. "I haven't accomplished what I want to accomplish, but this is a team sport and a team game. It's not about me. What we've done as a team, we've done some great things this year."

Now, the Indians need to begin thinking ahead to next year.

Sitting inside the visitors' dugout at U.S. Cellular Field on Friday afternoon, Indians manager Manny Acta admitted that the team needs to examine its options at first base. LaPorta has yet to develop into the right-handed power threat that the Tribe envisioned, and the team gave him every opportunity to shine this season.

Entering Friday, LaPorta was hitting .238 with 11 home runs and 44 RBIs in 97 games.

"I think that's something that we're going to have to address during the offseason," Acta said, "whether we're going to continue to go with what we have or if we're going to explore something else. Right now, first base and third base are positions where we should be looking into improving for next year, whether that's within or from the outside.

"Those are positions that you expect some production out of it. You can get away with one of those positions being a defensive one, if you have a lot of offense coming from everywhere else. But we have struggled here offensively for two years."

LaPorta cited consistency as his primary problem.

"It's as simple as that, really," LaPorta said.

Acta noted that LaPorta has struggled with breaking balls, as well as using the whole field. The manager added that the first baseman has had issues with using his legs properly during his swing. On top of that, patience has been a consistent issue for a player who profiles to have good power and a solid walk rate.

"There's no magic to it," Acta said. "He's got to continue to play and continue to work and see what's going to eventually click for him. He has worked hard. We just want to see results. He's the one who has to do it. That's the bottom line.

"Regardless of what you work on, you still have to have the discipline to get pitches in the zone and do some damage."