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Marte looking to prove worth

Marte looking to prove worth

CLEVELAND -- All you need to know about manager Eric Wedge's current evaluation of Andy Marte was evident Tuesday night.

Down 3-0 in the eighth inning, with the bases loaded and Marte due up, Wedge pulled Marte and sent up Jamey Carroll -- not exactly the biggest bopper on the roster -- to pinch-hit. And this move was made in the midst of a stretch in which Marte, who had been given regular starting opportunities after his late-July promotion back to the big leagues, has been relegated largely to bench duties.

Marte was only in Tuesday's game because Matt LaPorta suffered a left hip injury in the second inning. And LaPorta's injury allowed Marte to start at first base on Wednesday night. Depending on LaPorta's status, Marte might remain in the lineup on Thursday, when the Indians wrap up the three-game set with the division-leading Tigers.

But it's clear that Wedge has playing-time priorities that don't involve Marte. The Indians have been getting a more consistent look at Trevor Crowe in the outfield and LaPorta at first base the past couple weeks, and that's drastically cut into Marte's playing time.

"I need to play more consistently [to succeed]," Marte said. "When I'm not playing, I lose everything."

It already appears as though Marte, once viewed as a future cornerstone player, has played his way out of the Indians' future plans. Though he revived his career with an outstanding season at Triple-A Columbus this year, his performance since coming back to the Majors hasn't swayed Wedge or the organization towards believing that he has a future as a regular here.

Marte may or may not survive the winter alterations to the 40-man roster and, even if he does, surviving Spring Training without again being exposed to the waiver wire will be difficult for him. Some of his fate might be tied into who is managing the club next season (Wedge is certainly on thin ice), but LaPorta is considered the future at first base and Jhonny Peralta has a stranglehold on third.

For now, LaPorta's absence, however prolonged, gives Marte another chance to perform.

"I need to try to get back on track," he said.

Pitching matchup
CLE: RHP Carlos Carrasco (0-2, 9.64 ERA)
Carrasco, three starts into his Major League career, continues to give up big hits at bad times. He allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits with a walk and three strikeouts over six innings in a loss to the Royals on Sept. 13. Carrasco, a key starting pitching prospect acquired in the Cliff Lee trade, has now given up 15 earned runs in 14 total innings over three starts. He's been tagged for six home runs and has had trouble getting movement on his fastball.

DET: RHP Justin Verlander (16-9, 3.44 ERA)
Don't let the numbers from his last outing fool you. Verlander took a one-run game into the eighth inning before a fly ball lost against the roof of the Metrodome for a double helped spring open a five-run Twins rally. Verlander hit 101 mph on his 127th and final pitch of that outing, a Jason Kubel bloop single that brought in two runs and extended Verlander's winless streak to three consecutive starts. He won't get an extra day of rest after throwing 128 pitches Saturday, so his pitch count might have to be watched closely.

Tidbits
The Elias Sports Bureau changed the A's five-run second inning from Sunday's game to three earned runs instead of four. So Fausto Carmona's earned runs allowed in that start goes from eight to seven. ... Peralta, mired in a 2-for-32 and 0-for-25 funk, had the night off Wednesday. ... The Indians began their second instructional league in Goodyear, Ariz., on Tuesday with a 9-1 win over the Rangers. Cord Phelps went 2-for-4 with a triple, and Tim Fedroff and Karexon Sanchez both homered. Kelvin De La Cruz and Rob Bryson, both of whom missed the bulk of 2009 with injuries, combined to pitch the first three scoreless innings. Both of those guys are coming off injuries that cost them the most of the '09 season. No. 15 overall Draft pick Alex White will make his instructional league debut on Saturday.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• STO-HD, MLBN

On radio
• WTAM 1100

Up next
• Friday: Indians (Fausto Carmona, 3-12, 6.81) vs. Orioles (David Hernandez, 4-8, 5.34), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Indians (Jeremy Sowers, 6-10, 4.92) vs. Orioles (Jason Berken, 5-12, 6.41), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Indians (David Huff, 10-8, 5.98) vs. Orioles (Chris Tillman, 2-4, 4.71), 1:05 p.m. ET

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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