CLEVELAND Outfielders Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley, the key acquisitions in Cleveland s trade of CC Sabathia to Milwaukee last summer, are among eight minor league players invited to the Indians spring training camp.
Others getting invitations were: left-handers Dave Huff and Ryan Edell, third baseman Wes Hodges, infielder/outfielder Stephen Head and first basemen Beau Mills and Jordan Brown.
LaPorta, who can play left field or first base, is considered a future star by the Indians. He batted a combined .279 with 22 homers and 74 RBIs in Double-A ball. He also played for the U.S. Olympic baseball team.
Brantley spent the entire season at Huntsville in the Southern League, where he batted .319 with four homers and 40 RBIs in 106 games. He had 28 steals.
LaPorta and Brantley will likely begin the season at Triple-A Columbus, but are expected to join Cleveland s roster at some point in 2009.
Huff will get a chance to win a spot in the starting rotation this spring. He went a combined 11-5 with a 2.52 ERA at Double-A Akron and Triple-A Buffalo last year.