Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Tribe pleased with Tomlin's economical debut

Special to MLB.com

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- After setting a career high for innings pitched last season -- even before the Indians' deep postseason run -- it was a no-brainer to bring along Josh Tomlin slowly this spring.

Tomlin, however, looked sharp on Thursday as he made his 2017 Cactus League debut against the Angels. The 32-year-old right-hander gave up three hits and struck out one in 3 2/3 scoreless innings in a 5-4 loss at Goodyear Ballpark.

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- After setting a career high for innings pitched last season -- even before the Indians' deep postseason run -- it was a no-brainer to bring along Josh Tomlin slowly this spring.

Tomlin, however, looked sharp on Thursday as he made his 2017 Cactus League debut against the Angels. The 32-year-old right-hander gave up three hits and struck out one in 3 2/3 scoreless innings in a 5-4 loss at Goodyear Ballpark.

"With it being his first time in a game, we were really pleased," manager Terry Francona said.

Spring Training: Schedule | Tickets | Gear

The plan was for Tomlin to pitch three innings, but he was so economical that Francona sent him out to start the fourth. Tomlin struck out the final batter he faced, Danny Espinosa.

"It's Spring Training. You just want to see your guys go out there and establish arm strength, throw strikes," Francona said. "He always does that. He commands so well that when he's commanding like that he has quick innings."

Tomlin went 13-9 with a 4.40 ERA in 174 innings across 29 starts and one relief appearance during the regular season. He won each of his starts in the American League Division Series against the Red Sox and AL Championship Series versus the Blue Jays before taking a no-decision and then a loss to the Cubs in the World Series.

The postseason run added another 17 2/3 innings to Tomlin's season ledger. His previous career high was 165 1/3 in 2011.

Video: WS2016 Gm6: Tomlin leaves game after loading bases

Worth noting

Jason Kipnis, who has been nursing soreness in his right rotator cuff, made his spring debut on Thursday and went 1-for-3. Kipnis, who struck out swinging in his first two at-bats, was the designed hitter and will do the same on Friday against the Giants.

"It was nice to see him playing, first of all, but now he got some of the firsts out of the way ... and we can get him on a routine," Francona said.

It is unclear when Kipnis will be able to take the field at second base, but Francona isn't looking to get Kipnis more days off during the regular season.

"Why would we go into a season wanting to give him more days off?" Francona said. "He did really well last year. I think he had his best overall year, from start to finish. ... The idea is to keep them fresh enough so they can play a lot. Kip is real good about communicating to me when he needs [a day off], but I want those guys to be where they can play.

"That's part of the reason why we've gone the conservative route with his shoulder. Because he didn't want it to be nagging come April, May, June, because then it's hard to fix it."

Video: LAA@CLE: Kipnis smacks single in his spring debut

Cody Anderson had an MRI on his right elbow on Wednesday, the same elbow that underwent arthroscopic surgery in November. The results weren't available on Thursday.

"When he says something, it's probably hurting," Francona said, "because he doesn't say much very often. It's probably part of the reason he is hurt a little bit."

Anderson, the team's No. 4 starter out of Spring Training last year, had progressed to the point in his rehab where he was going to begin throwing breaking balls in his bullpen sessions before the pain became too much.

• Left fielder Michael Brantley came out of his second simulated game healthy and will play another on Friday, when he will also take the field, Francona said.

"Hit some balls good, took some aggressive swings, and probably the best thing of all is he showed up today feeling good," Francona said.

Brantley, whom Francona on Thursday referred to as the team's No. 3 hitter, was limited to just 11 games last season due to right shoulder and biceps issues.

Tweet from @Indians: Michael Brantley in the box vs. ZMac. #TribeSpring pic.twitter.com/oTPTg6QNZe

Chris Gabel is a contributor to MLB.com.

Cleveland Indians, Josh Tomlin