Garko set for leadership role in San Francisco

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Goodbye
Travis Ishikawa, hello Ryan Garko.

 

Adding
some much-needed punch to their lineup, the Giants got themselves a first
baseman and a middle-of-the-order presence in Garko on Monday, giving the
Indians a Class A arm in Scott Barnes.

 

Suddenly,
Garko will be asked to some heavy lifting for a contender after towing the line
for a floundering Indians club. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him featured
right alongside Pablo Sandoval in the heart of San Francisco’s order, with
Sandoval batting third and Garko slotting into the cleanup spot.  
The opportunity is long overdue for a Minor League masher who’s been defying
critics all throughout his career. What’s more, the timing couldn’t be any
better — he’s in the midst of a scorching-hot July, ringing up a .343 average,
three homers, seven RBIs and a .514 slugging percentage.

 

The
downside for Garko is he leaves behind one hitters’ park in Progressive Field
for one ginormous pitchers’ paradise in AT&T Park.

 

Still,
when a team believes in you enough to make you the new centerpiece of their
offense, who really cares about venues? Garko fits in perfectly with the San
Francisco’s slew of offensive outcasts. 

 

Who
takes over for Garko at first?

 

The
Indians have several options. Chief among them is Matt LaPorta, the team’s top
prospect who recently began playing first more with the idea of improving his
chances of a callup.  LaPorta scuffled in his first go-round the bigs a
few months back, but the guy has nothing left to prove at Triple-A Columbus,
where he owns a .301 average and a .533 slugging percentage in 272
at-bats.  Another option is Andy Marte, who’s having a renaissance season at Columbus. They can also move Victor Martinez to first and give Kelly
Shoppach
the bulk of starts behind the plate. They can also move Martinez to
first and promote super-catching prospect Carlos Santana (no, not the
musician), who boasts a .272 average, 19 homers, 69 RBIs, a .396 on-base
percentage and a .534 slugging percentage for Double-A Akron.

 

Now
is as good a time as any to scoop up LaPorta and take a flier on Santana.

 

Oh,
and give Garko a look while you’re at it.

 

Alex Cushing, MLB.com

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