The Cleveland Indians place first baseman Russell Branyan on the 15-day disabled list with a herniated disc in his lower back, opening the door for highly touted prospect Matt LaPorta to begin the season on the 25-man roster for the first time.
LaPorta, thought to be the centerpiece of the C.C. Sabathia trade in July of 2008, will join another player from the deal, Michael Brantley, on the roster. Brantley will return to Triple-A Columbus just weeks into the season, but LaPorta will remain with the club until June 7th after struggling to a .218 average with just one home run and seven RBI in his first 35 games. He will be recalled at the end of the month when Branyan is traded to the Seattle Mariners for Ezequiel Carrera and Juan Diaz.
LaPorta debuted the previous season, playing 52 games in 2009 with a .254 batting average, seven home runs, and 21 RBI.