The Plain Dealer reports that the Tribe has brought back Kenny Lofton for his third tour of duty in Cleveland. The Indians, who originally acquired Lofton from Houston for 23-year-old catcher Eddie Taubensee, reportedly dealt 22-year-old catcher Max Ramirez to Texas for the still-speedy Lofton.
Lofton will likely platoon with Jason Michaels in LF, replacing the injured David Dellucci. Lofton is still a dangerous hitter against right-handed pitchers and should be a valuable on-base threat at the top of the lineup. In 1071 plate appearances against RHP over the past three years, he has an OPS of .833 with 99 walks and only 87 strikeouts.
Ramirez came to Cleveland last July 20 from the Braves organization as the bounty for Bob Wickman. In 114 games with the Tribe’s Hi-A and Lo-A affiliates, Ramirez proved himself a capable hitter, posting an admirable combined line of .304/.423/.493 in 404 AB. He represented the Tribe in the All-Star Futures Game this year, doubling and scoring a run for the World Team.
Though no move has been announced, the Indians will likely either option Ben Francisco to Buffalo or designate Trot Nixon for assignment to make room on the 25-man roster for Lofton. Francisco has also been rumored to be headed to Kansas City in a deal for Octavio Dotel.