CLEVELAND -- The key cog in the controversial trade that sent Coco Crisp to the Red Sox has made it to the big leagues.
Third-base prospect Andy Marte was promoted to the Indians from Triple-A Buffalo on Friday, with utility infielder Ramon Vazquez optioned back to the Bisons.
Marte, acquired along with reliever Guillermo Mota and catcher Kelly Shoppach in the trade that sent Crisp, David Riske and Josh Bard to Boston, has been generally regarded as the Tribe's third baseman for '07. At the time of the trade, the club said he'd need some more Triple-A seasoning before he'd be big-league ready, and he proved as much with a slump at the plate at the outset of '06.
In recent weeks, though, Marte has been as productive as they come. He earned International League Player of the Month honors in June by batting .304 with 10 homers and 22 RBIs. Earlier this month, he took home the Home Run Derby crown at the Triple-A All-Star Game in Toledo.
For the season, Marte has hit .261 with 15 homers and 46 RBIs. He's made 19 errors in the field.
The Indians had several front-office staff members check Marte out in recent days, with general manager Mark Shapiro getting the final look earlier this week.
With veteran third baseman Aaron Boone struggling both at the plate and in the field this season, the club is expected to give Marte regular starts at the position. Boone could be traded before the July 31 deadline, released or placed in a utility role.
This will be the second taste of the Majors for Marte, originally a Braves prospect who was shipped to the Red Sox during the Winter Meetings last December. A September callup to Atlanta last year, he hit .140 (8-for-57) with four RBIs in 24 games.
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