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Branyan deal kicks off Indians fire sale

CINCINNATI — Acknowledging their season is lost, the last-place Indians traded 1B Russell Branyan back to the Mariners for two prospects and put their youth movement in fast-forward by bringing up 1B Matt LaPorta.

LaPorta, a former Gators standout who was acquired from the Brewers in the trade for LHP CC Sabathia two years ago, was in the lineup Sunday for the final game of an interleague series against the Reds. He'll become the everyday first baseman.

"Russell did perform at the level we expected him to perform," GM Mark Shapiro said. "The rest of the club, however, did not."

Shapiro has spoken generally with clubs about trading other players but said nothing is close.

Branyan, 34, who played in 64 games for the Rays in 2006, had career highs of 31 homers and 76 RBIs with Seattle last season but missed the last month with a bad back.

Cleveland signed him Feb. 24 to a one-year deal.

The Mariners get Branyan and a player to be named or cash. The Indians get OF Ezequiel Carrera, 22, and SS Juan Diaz, 21.

The deal between last-place teams gives the Mariners a power hitter and the Indians a little more farm depth.

"It's a familiar place. I have a lot of friends over here, and I had a great time here last year," Branyan said.

Seattle also placed DH Mike Sweeney on the 15-day disabled list with back spasms and brought up RHP David Pauley from Triple-A Tacoma.

UMP ADMITS ERROR: Another umpire has accepted responsibility for a blown call that went against the Tigers. Gary Cederstrom acknowledged he erred when he called a third strike on Johnny Damon that ended the Braves' 4-3 win Saturday night with the bases loaded. "It was a sweeping pitch, going away from Damon," Cederstrom told a pool reporter from the Detroit Free Press after the game. "It looked good coming in, then broke late."

HANLEY CLEARS AIR: Marlins SS Hanley Ramirez acknowledged that he and former manager Fredi Gonzalez clashed at times. But the All-Star insisted he wasn't thrilled to see Gonzalez fired last week. "Everybody will miss him," Ramirez said. "But at the same time, you've got to forget and move forward. A lot of people put it on me. I don't know why. It had nothing to do with me. Things that should have happened, happened. That's it."

In other Marlins news, rookie RF Mike Stanton got a one-day breather a day after he cost his team a run by catching a fly ball in foul territory.

ZAMBRANO SAGA: Cubs GM Jim Hendry said he hopes to get a response "in the next day or so" from Major League Baseball on the length of RHP Carlos Zambrano's suspension for his outburst Friday.

OBITUARY: Former White Sox play-by-play announcer Lorn Brown died Thursday in Las Cruces, N.M. He was 71. Mr. Brown called games on TV and radio from 1976-79 and 1983-88.

ASTROS: RHP Bud Norris, out for more than a month with biceps tendinitis, is expected to be activated and start tonight.

D'BACKS: RHP Brandon Webb, coming back from labrum surgery, said he felt good a day after throwing 60-65 pitches off a mound in a bullpen session and hopes to pitch this season.

ORIOLES: 1B Garrett Atkins was designated for assignment, a move that coincided with the activation of RHP Koji Uehara from the 15-day disabled list.

REDS: LH reliever Bill Bray, who had reconstructive elbow surgery in May 2009, was called up from Triple-A Louisville.

WHITE SOX: Closer Bobby Jenks went on the bereavement list for an family matter.

Branyan deal kicks off Indians fire sale 06/27/10 [Last modified: Sunday, June 27, 2010 11:52pm]

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