Lineup changes could be coming

Lineup changes could be coming

CLEVELAND -- The Indians' offense came to life Monday night, and not a moment too soon.

Before Monday's game, manager Eric Wedge said he's considering anything and everything to change the fortunes of the wayward Tribe.

In the wake of Monday's win over the White Sox, those changes might not come in full force Tuesday night, when the three-game series resumes at Progressive Field. But they might not be far off, either.

On Tuesday, it is probably safe to look for Matt LaPorta to return to the lineup, as the Sox will start left-hander Clayton Richard. LaPorta's absence from the lineup the last four games has drawn the ire of fans itching to get a good look at the Tribe's top prospect, who was promoted to the big leagues on May 2 and has notched just 13 at-bats since.

In addition to being available in the corner outfield, LaPorta has been taking grounders at first base.

"We're trying to give him regular work over there," Wedge said. "I just want it to be an option for us. We can still DH [Ryan] Garko or throw Garko in the outfield."

Wedge also acknowledged that he's considering moving Grady Sizemore down in the order from the leadoff spot. This is an intriguing consideration, given Wedge's longtime insistence that Sizemore belongs at No. 1. But Sizemore's .226 batting average and .310 on-base percentage have given Wedge no choice but to think about it.

"He's just having trouble finding that groove," Wedge said of Sizemore.

If Sizemore slides down, who moves up? Possibly Asdrubal Cabrera, who is batting .325 with a .397 OBP.

"I think [Cabrera] is capable of doing that," Wedge said. "He's done such a good job in the two-hole. You look at it from a one-to-nine mode. It's more than just Asdrubal and Grady. We've got to look at what the domino effect is on everybody else."

Utility infielder Jamey Carroll is another leadoff candidate. Carroll, recovering from a broken bone in his left hand, will be back from a rehab assignment at Triple-A Columbus any day now -- perhaps as early as Tuesday. And beyond the obvious roster ramification Carroll's activation will involve, Wedge also figures to give Carroll his share of time at second and third base.

Wedge is also thinking about playing Luis Valbuena more often at second base, and possibly moving Jhonny Peralta from short to third, Cabrera from second to short and Mark DeRosa from third to first -- at least on occasion.

"We just want to find ways to get better, defensively and offensively," Wedge said.

Clearly, the list of options is long, and Wedge is open to any of them if it will get the Indians on a sustained winning streak.

"Right now," he said, "we have to consider everything."

Pitching matchup
CLE: LHP Jeremy Sowers (0-1, 12.60 ERA)
Sowers, called up to take over Aaron Laffey's rotation spot when Laffey was moved to the bullpen, gave the Indians five strong innings in his season debut Thursday in Boston before running into inescapable trouble in the sixth, when the Red Sox hitters became a little more patient. When all was said and done, he was charged with seven runs on seven hits with three walks and a strikeout in five-plus innings of work. Sowers was 0-2 with a 7.56 ERA in two starts against the White Sox last year.

CWS: LHP Clayton Richard (0-0, 4.32 ERA)
Richard served as a starter for most of Cactus League action, just in case Jose Contreras or Bartolo Colon weren't ready for the start of the regular season, so it shouldn't be too difficult for the southpaw to stretch out for four or five innings on Tuesday. Richard made his 12th appearance in relief on Sunday during a loss to Texas, but it basically functioned as a side day with Richard pitching one-third of an inning and facing two batters. Richard had a 2-5 record with a 6.35 ERA in eight starts last year and is replacing Contreras, who has an 0-5 mark with an 8.19 ERA over six starts in 2009. Richard has made one start against the Indians and has an 0-1 record lifetime against them.

Travis Hafner (right shoulder soreness) took early batting practice Monday and will do so again Tuesday and Wednesday. According to head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff, the plan is to send Hafner out on a rehab assignment Friday, most likely with Triple-A Columbus. The length of that assignment is yet to be determined, though it can't last more than 20 days. ... Right-hander Joe Smith (strained right rotator cuff) played catch out to 60 feet Monday. Soloff estimated that Smith, who had a slight setback in his recovery, is about 10-14 days away from going out on a rehab assignment. ... Left-hander Scott Lewis suffered a setback in his recovery from a left forearm strain in Goodyear, Ariz. He has begun playing catch again. ... Right-hander Jake Westbrook (Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery) is still on target for a mid- or late-June return to the Tribe. He threw two-thirds of an inning and 20 pitches in an extended Spring Training start Monday and will throw again Friday. He will add one inning or 15 pitches to his workload each week and will be sent out on rehab when he can tolerate an estimated four innings or 65 pitches, Soloff said. ... Carl Pavano has won three straight starts for the first time since Aug. 16-Sept. 10, 2004, when he won five straight for the Marlins.

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•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

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On radio
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Up next
• Wednesday: Indians (Cliff Lee, 1-5, 3.45) vs. White Sox (Mark Buehrle, 5-0, 2.61), 12:05 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Indians (Fausto Carmona, 1-4, 5.57) at Rays (James Shields, 3-3, 4.02), 7:08 p.m. ET
• Friday: Indians (Anthony Reyes, 1-1, 7.20) at Rays (Scott Kazmir, 4-3, 5.92), 7:38 p.m. ET

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.