LaHair drawing attention with hot play at plate

LaHair drawing attention with hot play at plate

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Bryan LaHair waited more than two weeks to step into a batter's box in a Cactus League game this spring. It took the first baseman only two games to give the Indians a glimpse of his potential at the plate.

Cleveland has taken things slow with LaHair, who is returning from September surgery on his left wrist. That has given the first baseman only the final two weeks of Spring Training to show the Tribe what he can offer off the bench. LaHair collected three hits against the Giants on Tuesday and added a double agianst the A's on Wednesday.

"You can't bottle it. It's hard to figure," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He's a guy that has limited reps and he leaned on a couple balls [Tuesday] night. And then all of a sudden, a guy feels good about himself."

The 31-year-old LaHair -- signed to a Minor League deal on Feb. 5 after playing in Japan last year -- is just happy to be feeling healthy again. The first baseman's wirst issues date back to 2012, when he declined rapidly in the second half after making the All-Star team with the Cubs. In 340 at-bats overall that season, LaHair had a .784 OPS with 16 homers and 40 RBIs.

LaHair gradually worked through a hitting program that finally called for game action this past weekend.

"I'm just trying to be aggressive," LaHair said. "I'm trying to test the hand, take good swings. I'm obviously battling through a little soreness, but that's going to be there. It's something I can handle, so I'm just trying to build each day, get stronger each day and try to gain a little confidence each day.

"I've been in pro ball now for about 11 years and I've never been on the [disabled list]. So it's been hard for me. I've been telling my mind to just stick to the plan the organization has. I'm not trying to rush anything. They don't want me to rush anything.

"The most important thing in the whole spring is to stay healthy, get healthy, get stronger and inch closer to 100 percent."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.