GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- While it seems unlikely that Matt LaPorta will make the Cleveland Indians' opening-day roster, he's already making his presence felt in spring training.
LaPorta hit a solo homer off All-Star pitcher Dan Haren in the second inning Thursday before the Arizona Diamondbacks rallied for a 15-9 victory."He's going to get the opportunity to get some at-bats here," Indians manager Eric Wedge said.Considered one of the top prospects in baseball, LaPorta was acquired from Milwaukee for ace CC Sabathia last July. The right-handed power hitter is expected to begin the season at Triple-A Columbus, but could make an impact in Cleveland sometime this season."I've been impressed with my approach right now," said LaPorta, who also hustled for a bloop double in the fifth. "I'm getting adjusted to playing again. I'm getting my timing back."The fact that his first homer came against Haren, who won 16 games for the Diamondbacks last season, made the moment even better."He's a fabulous pitcher," LaPorta said. "He kind of left one up and over the plate. It was a good pitch to hit."LaPorta had mixed results in left field. He lost Conor Jackson's fly ball in the sun in the second inning, resulting in a double."I saw the ball off the bat," LaPorta said. "I ran to where I thought the ball would be, but when I looked back all I saw was the sun."LaPorta redeemed himself by making a leaping catch of Justin Upton's fly ball while crashing into the fence in the fifth."I had to battle the wind and I had to find the fence," he said.Haren allowed one run in two innings. He threw 30 pitches."I felt pretty good," said Haren, who has been fighting the flu. "I didn't feel that good in my last bullpen session, but once I got on the mound, my adrenaline got going. I got a little tired at the end, but my fastball felt real crisp."Left-hander Doug Davis followed Haren to the mound, but didn't fare as well, allowing six runs and six hits in 1 1-3 innings. Davis was 6-8 with a 4.32 ERA in 26 starts last season.Leyson Septimo allowed two runs in one inning and got the win.Left-hander Aaron Laffey, a candidate for the fifth spot in the Indians' rotation, allowed an unearned run in two innings. He made one of four Cleveland errors, leading to eight unearned runs.Arizona wiped out a 9-7 deficit by scoring six times in the seventh against losing pitcher Toma Ohka, trying to make the team as a non-roster player.Josh Wilson had three hits and drove in two runs for Arizona. Ryan Roberts and Luke Carlin each added two hits and two RBIs.Grady Sizemore had two hits and two RBIs for the Indians.
Indians RHP Kerry Wood, who has been bothered by a sore back, is expected to throw a bullpen session Friday. ... Cleveland RHP Jack Cassel, another non-roster player, allowed four runs and seven hits in 1 2-3 innings. Cassel is the brother of New England quarterback Matt Cassel. ... Indians RHP Fausto Carmona will start Friday against San Diego in Goodyear. ... RHP Brandon Webb, Arizona's No. 1 starter, is scheduled to throw two innings Friday against the White Sox in Tucson. ... The Diamondbacks will host Mexico in a World Baseball Classic tuneup on March 4.