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LaPorta putting charge in Tribe's lineup

LaPorta putting charge in Tribe's lineup

CLEVELAND -- Matt LaPorta is the anti-worrier.

When the Indians' 25-year-old first baseman learned of Russell Branyan's recent trade to the Mariners, a move that directly impacted his short-term future in the Major Leagues, how did he react?

"I didn't even see that Russ got traded," LaPorta said. "And when I did, I didn't care. If that's going to make him and the Indians happier, great."

Cleveland has been pretty pleased with LaPorta this week. He entered Friday's action having smashed home runs in each of his past three games -- a stretch that might give some players reason to gloat.

Not LaPorta.

"Success does help with your confidence, but you don't want to get over-confident," he said. "If you get too high, then you can start getting too low. I think you always want to stay on that even-keel."

LaPorta, the key acquisition in the July 2008 trade that sent CC Sabathia to the Brewers, batted .218 with one home run and seven RBIs in 35 games for Cleveland before being optioned to Triple-A Columbus on June 7.

On Sunday, LaPorta rejoined Cleveland knowing he'd be the recipient of regular playing time. He has rewarded the Tribe's faith, at least through five games, hitting .294 (5-for-17) with three homers and five RBIs since his recall.

"It definitely helps knowing that you're going to play pretty much every day," LaPorta said. "It makes those 0-for-4 games a little less hard to take, because you know you're going to come out the next day and have a chance to get your knocks."

Why the sudden power surge from the former first-round Draft pick?

"Nothing's changed," LaPorta said. "I feel like I'm putting my trust and faith more into Jesus. Whatever happens, happens. I'm not going to really worry about anything.

"I feel like I've always been able to hit. It was just a matter of time before I was going to do it."

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