Closing Time: Ryan Garko may be a Giant; Matt LaPorta apparently isn't ready

The Indians were happy to close the book on the Ryan Garko(notes) era, but they're apparently not ready to get things started with the Matt LaPorta(notes) story.

You're not going to get a lot of trade buzz from the deal Cleveland and San Francisco put down Monday night, but given the pedestrian night of baseball activity, we'll let it bat leadoff in our wrap-up. Garko heads to the Bay Area and should be a modest upgrade over Travis Ishikawa(notes), while the Indians get left-handed pitcher Scott Barnes, a well-respected but long-range prospect currently in Single-A. Cleveland also avoids the pay increase Garko was in line for; he's arbitration eligible next year and probably can make between $2-3 million. If you want to construct 1,000 words and four color-coded graphs breaking down this swap, that's your business.

The more intriguing part of the deal, to the fantasy public anyway, is the corresponding move the Indians made. Prospect hounds are eagerly awaiting the next LaPorta sighting (.309/.387/.536 in Triple-A) but the Tribe decided to give Andy Marte(notes) (.315/..356/.531) the call instead. Marte essentially trashed his prospect status with a messy 80-game audition with the club last year; perhaps the Indians feel this is, at 25, his last chance to come up to The Show and prove he belongs (keep in mind he was designated for assignment in March but no one claimed him). GM Mark Shapiro says Marte will get regular work at first base.

If the Brewers really think they're in the hunt this year in the NL Central, it's time to get Jeff Suppan(notes) (5.27 ERA, 1.70 WHIP) out of the rotation (hell, out of Wisconsin). The Washington offense (better than you think – it's not the reason for the shipwreck) took it out on Suppan and friends Monday, putting up 14 runs and scoring the Nats 11th road win of the season. Josh Willingham hit a couple of grand slams, just to make Ellis Evans look good, and a handful of his teammates padded their stat lines (dig in, it's a rich box).

And let's keep an eye on lefty reliever Sean Burnett(notes), who has worked 10 snappy innings since landing in Washington (4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 8 K), and that's on the heels of a strong year in Pittsburgh (3.06, 1.14). Here’s a sleeper saves candidate that's not getting a lot of run.

Brian Fuentes(notes) had a sterling 19-game streak working into Monday night (one win, 17 saves, no runs allowed), so there's no need to panic about how the Indians clubbed him all over the yard. A couple of singles put Fuentes in a hole and then Victor Martinez(notes) put the hammer down, lifting a three-run homer that just barely cleared the left-field fence (Reggie Willits, thanks for nothing). Perhaps that unsettled Fuentes a bit, because Jhonny Peralta(notes) followed with a solo shot of his own.

Luke Hochevar's(notes) had plenty of accidents in his brief career with the Royals, but maybe the light bulb has finally gone off with the talented righty. Hochevar's most recent gem was one of the sneaky stories of last weekend – he struck out 13 Rangers in a win Saturday night – and Cool Hand Luke now has 27 strikeouts against one walk over his last three turns. The outstanding starts of late come on the heels of some consistent work (he's pitched six innings or more in nine of his last ten outings), and let's not forget the pedigree at play here (the Tennessee product was the first overall pick in the 2006 draft). Thursday presents an interesting scouting assignment (Hochevar heads to Baltimore and opposes underrated Brad Bergesen(notes)) and I'm going to give him some run on some of my mixed league teams until he gives me a good reason not to.

Handshakes: It's not easy to get a save in a 6-1 victory but Ryan Franklin(notes) (23) benefited from the mess than Trevor Miller and Kyle McClellan(notes) made in the eighth. Franklin wound up retiring four of five men, saving it for Chris Carpenter(notes) (seven strong innings). … Joakim Soria(notes) (16) needed 18 pitches to put the Orioles down in order, but it's hard to quibble with that 1.57 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. He's been especially sharp for a solid month now. … David Robertson(notes) (1) got a cheap save for the Yanks as they ran away from Tampa late. … Francisco Rodriguez(notes) protected New York's four-run lead against Colorado but that's not a save-grabber, of course. Brad Lidge(notes) got the same stat-free assignment for the Phillies at Arizona. … If you have an offer for Francisco Cordero(notes) (23), the Reds would love to hear it. He threw a home run ball to Kevin Kouzmanoff(notes) but he was working with a three-run cushion. … C.J. Wilson(notes) (11) struck out the side against Detroit and has four saves over the last eight days. Is Frank Francisco(notes) going to get Pipped? … Joe Nathan(notes) had a rare blown save last week in Anaheim, but he needed just six pitches to cruise past the White Sox Monday.

Injury Blog: Kevin Slowey(notes) needs season-ending surgery to fix a bone chip in his right wrist. "It's a young arm with a very good future, and we want to make sure we don't do anything silly here," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He was trying to pitch through this thing, and that always scares me." … Tim Hudson(notes) (elbow) couldn't find the plate in his Triple-A rehab start, throwing 26 of 47 pitches out of the strike zone. … Carlos Quentin(notes) (plantar fasciitis) was able to play on Minnesota's turf, though he went 0-for-4. … Aaron Rowand(notes) won't go on the DL immediately, though the Giants say he has a slightly torn forearm. … Grady Sizemore(notes) (illness) was a late scratch Monday. … Juan Rivera(notes) (hamstring) got back after a week off and hit his 17th homer. … Troy Glaus(notes) now has a balky back to worry about, in addition to his rehab from shoulder woes. It would be a stunner if he contributes anything much this year. … John Danks(notes) (blister/circulation) didn't look bad in his Monday turn, allowing two runs over seven innings.

Speed Round: Tommy Hunter(notes) wasn't rattled by Curtis Granderson's(notes) leadoff homer in Arlington; that's the only run the kid allowed over seven sterling frames (5 H, 2 BB, 6 K). Hunter generally doesn't make a living with ground balls, but he got 12 infield outs against the Tigers. … Tim Lincecum(notes) struck out Garrett Jones(notes) twice, and 13 other guys, en route to a complete-game win over the Bucs. That skinny skateboard kid is pretty good. … The scuffling Josh Hamilton(notes) dropped to seventh in the order Monday. An 0-for-4 collar has him at .223. … Scott Downs(notes), fresh off his vote of confidence from Cito Gaston, worked a perfect inning at Seattle (with two strikeouts). It was an odd assignment for a well-worked closer, given that the Jays were ahead seven runs at the time. … Carlos Pena(notes) is another left-handed power hitter in a funk. An 0-for-4 Monday dropped him to .217, and he's been pushed down in the order (while Ben Zobrist(notes) takes over the cleanup spot). … Everth Cabrera's(notes) stolen-base streak ended at four games, but he made up for it with his first homer at Cincinnati. … Get your schedule cleared Wednesday so you can get a gander at Baltimore's Chris Tillman(notes), who's expected to make his much-anticipated debut. Tillman has a 2.70 ERA in 18 Triple-A starts this year, with just over a strikeout per inning. … Milton Bradley(notes) finally showed some interest on the bases, going 1-for-2 in steal attempts against Houston. There wasn't much offense to speak off in this match until the last of the 13th, when Alfonso Soriano(notes) sent the home fans home happy.

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