Francona not concerned with pitching results
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians manager Terry Francona has stressed to all of his pitchers in these early stages of Spring Training that they are not under extreme evaluation right now. The goal should be to build up endurance and work on command, worrying later about results.
That includes right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka, who is one of a handful of pitchers vying for the fifth spot in Cleveland's rotation. Francona knows the Japanese right-hander from their days with the Red Sox and has given the pitcher the same message as the other competitors.
"He's just like everybody else, getting his feet under him," Francona said. "He hadn't thrown any bullpens prior to coming to camp, so we told him we wouldn't be evaluating. Just build arm strength, get comfortable on the mound, things like that. But he looks completely healthy.
"He looks the same. The delivery looks fine. It'll be fun to go watch and see how he pitches."
Matsuzaka is scheduled to make his first Cactus League apperance of the spring Sunday in a split-squad home game against the Reds. Zach McAllister -- the favorite for the fourth rotation spot -- is slated to start and pitch two innings for the Tribe. Matsuzaka will likely follow McAllister with two innings of his own.
The other split-squad game will feature starters Carlos Carrasco (one inning), Scott Kazmir (two), Trevor Bauer (two) and David Huff (two). All four of those pitchers are in the mix for the fifth spot in the rotation.
Corey Kluber, who is also in the running for that job, is scheduled for two innings Saturday, when right-hander Brett Myers (two innings) is scheduled to start against Cincinnati. Myers is a virtual lock for the Opening Day rotation, as are Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez. Masterson and Jimenez are each scheduled to throw two innings on the road against the A's on Monday.