LaPorta hopes to stick with Indians

LaPorta hopes to stick with Indians

LaPorta hopes to stick with Indians
CLEVELAND -- Matt LaPorta hopes he is back in the big leagues to stay, but the Indians first baseman is also trying not to look too far ahead. For now, LaPorta is looking at his latest promotion to Cleveland simply as a chance to help out a team in contention.

"If it's two days, three days, a week, it doesn't matter," LaPorta said on Sunday afternoon. "I'm up here to hopefully help contribute to this ballclub and help this team out."

The Indians officially called LaPorta up from Triple-A Columbus prior to Sunday's game against the Twins, while outfielder Johnny Damon is away on paternity leave.

Damon is expected to rejoin the Tribe on Wednesday in Detroit, but LaPorta is not necessarily the player who will be sent packing upon his return.

That is an issue for another day.

Cleveland's challenge is getting LaPorta to carry his success at Columbus to the big-league stage. That has been a problem for the first baseman -- available for part-time outfield duty now as well -- since being acquired by the Indians in the July 2008 trade that sent ace C.C. Sabathia to the Brewers.

"They felt that he was doing the right thing over there," Indians manager Manny Acta said of LaPorta's progress at Triple-A. "He was having success and hitting mistakes whenever they made mistakes on him. But, we'll have to see how that translates up here."

On the season, the 27-year-old LaPorta was hitting .307 (51-for-166) with 14 home runs, eight doubles, 32 RBIs and a 1.007 OPS through 46 games for the Clippers. Over the course of LaPorta's career, though, he has hit .299 with a .964 OPS in the Minors, compared to .238 with a .701 OPS in three stints (2009-11) in the Majors with the Tribe.

Given LaPorta's lack of consistency in the big leagues, the Indians signed veteran first baseman Casey Kotchman to a one-year contract over the offseason.

"I kind of saw the writing on the wall at the time," LaPorta said.

LaPorta said a key for him now is not to pay attention to what is being written about him elsewhere.

"I think it's been a problem that I've had to overcome," LaPorta said. "I can't control what other people think and I can't control someone else's happiness. If they want to be upset about performance that I'm playing, sorry. It's something that over the year I've tried to get better at."