He's baaack ... Russell Branyan.
Indians general manager had a busy day Thursday as he made a couple of moves to try and bolster the first-place club's pennant hopes in the AL Central. The Indians purchased the contract of shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera from their Triple-A farm club in Buffalo, designated infielder Mike Rouse for assignment and signed former Indian Russell Branyan to a minor-league deal and sent him to Buffalo.
Cabrera, 21, acquired from the Seattle Mariners in June 2006 for first baseman Eduardo Perez, has had an all-star season at Class AA Akron and Buffalo this year.
"I'm going to have him start here and there," manager Eric Wedge said. "He's had a very good year offensively and defensively. We're going to have him in there every now and again.
"He's going to work out at second, short and third. That's his role. We'll see how he works in. He can play all three.
"He has big-league tools and it was the right time to get him up here."
Cabrera began the season at Akron where he hit .310 (114-for-368) with 23 doubles, three triples, eight home runs and 54 RBI in 96 games. He also stole 23 bases in 30 attempts and scored 78 runs.
"I wouldn't regard him as a base stealer, but he's OK," Wedge said.
Cabrera hit .336 (51-for-152) with runners on base and .323 (92-for-285) off right-handers for Aeros while posting hitting streaks of 12 and 13 games.
"He had been rushed over at Seattle," Wedge said. "We sent him to Double-A so he could play every day and he's just done a good job all year."
Promoted to Buffalo on July 31, he batted .316 (12-for-38) with three doubles and three RBI in nine games, giving him an overall average of .310(126-for-406) with 26 doubles, eight homers and 57 RBI in 105 games.
The switch-hitting native of Venezuela was assigned uniform No. 13 -- last worn in Cleveland by another slick-fielding shortstop the Indians once acquired from Seattle: Omar Vizquel.
“I always admired Omar,” Cabrera told Frank Derry of Indians Ink in an interview late last season. “I also liked Carlos Guillen (who came up through Seattle’s organization before being traded to Detroit) a lot.”
It was because of Vizquel and Guillen that Cabrera chose shortstop as his position when he first started playing baseball. He progressed so quickly that by age 16 he was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Mariners.
Rouse hit .119 (8-for-67) in 41 games for Cleveland.
"Mike did a very good job for us defensively," Wedge said. "It is a tough role, to play once every week or 10 days."
The Indians brought back Branyan for a third time.
The lefty slugger spent this season with San Diego, hitting .197 (24-for-122) with seven homers and 19 RBI in 61 games before being released July 28.
The 31-year-old third baseman/outfielder returns to the Indians, who drafted him in the seventh round in 1994. He played in parts of five seasons (1998-2002) with Cleveland.
In 688 games in the majors, he has 118 homers, 239 RBI and a .229 (419-for-1,827) batting average.
Branyan was traded to Cincinnati for first baseman Ben Broussard in June 2002, then went to Atlanta before being reacquired by the Indians in a minor-league deal in April 2004. Two months later, he was traded to Milwaukee, then went to Tampa Bay and the Padres.
In 714 games in the minors, Branyan has 198 homers, 537 RBI and a .256 average.
"He's signed to help Buffalo and I really don't have anything else to add," Wedge said.
Branyan becomes the second ex-Indian added to the Bisons' roster in a week. Right-hander Scott Elarton, recently released by the Kansas City Royals, was signed a minor-league deal and sent to Buffalo last weekend.
He gained a victory in his Bisons debut Saturday, allowing two hits and one run in one inning of relief.
Elarton went 2-4 with a 10.46 ERA in nine starts for the Royals, spending time on the disabled list with shoulder and ankle injuries. He has a major-league career record of 56-60 with a 5.31 ERA in 224 games, including 170 starts.