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Thursday, February 25, 2010
Branyan's already won Tribe's 1B job


Hey, a bit of surprising news from the Indians already!


If Hafner's in the lineup, LaPorta and Brantley can't both play every day. And considering that 1) LaPorta's 25, and 2) the Indians gave up CC Sabathia to get him, we should probably assume that LaPorta gets first crack at an every-day job with the big club.

Which is fair enough, I think.

I like Brantley, too. But he's only 22, and while he hit .313 with the Indians last fall, he did not homer and has not showed much power in the minors, either. That's OK. He's super-fast, gets on base and, even in left field, his defense may balance his lack of power.

There's no rush, though. Maybe he's a fourth outfielder in the long run or maybe he's a regular, but right now there's little lost if he opens the season in the minors. Maybe he learns something, and maybe the Indians wind up delaying his arbitration clock by a year.

Sure, it's tough on the kid. He probably figures he's earned a job and with many teams he'd be right. But when the Indians just couldn't pass on Branyan -- at $2 million this season, a real bargain -- Brantley got squeezed out. If he's really good enough to play every day, this will be just a hiccup in his fine career.

(Glove Slap: Craig)