Marte Decision Looms
July 2, 2009
Columbus opening day third baseman Wes Hodges has been sidelined with a wrist and shoulder injury since the beginning of May, and he currently is in the midst of a rehab assignment at Low-A Lake County. He had two three innings stints and then a six inning stint to ramp him up and get him back into game shape and tonight just played a full nine inning game (2-for-4 with a double) as the designated hitter. He is expected to get one more full game in with Lake County and likely play the whole game at third base to see if he is cleared to be brought back to the Columbus active roster.
Once Hodges is brought back to Columbus, which could be by this weekend, he will move back to the regular third base slot playing there seven to eight games of every ten game set. This would only leave Marte two to three games every ten game stretch for playing time at third base. The Indians have discussed with him getting him playing time at first base, outfield and at designated hitter (five spots in the batting order), but with Matt LaPorta, Trevor Crowe, Stephen Head, Michael Brantley, and Jordan Brown all to get the lion's share of at bats among those five spots it will likely squeeze Marte out of regular playing time.
In fact, one of the reasons first baseman Michael Aubrey was moved last week was because they needed his at bats to go to recently activated first baseman/outfielder Stephen Head. This same fate could happen to Marte when Hodges is activated anyday, and it would make sense as this is probably the highest value Marte will have in any trade. Once relegated to a backup role, that trade value (if any) would start to take a hit.
There is a small chance Marte could be activated and called up to Cleveland, though with Peralta entrenched at third base as well as the first base and designated hitter's duties maxed out with the likes of Victor Martinez, Ryan Garko, Chris Gimenez and Travis Hafner, it seems unlikely.