GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians have an ace and one of the game's top starters in Corey Kluber. There was no question that manager Terry Francona was going to pencil Kluber in as his Opening Day starter, as long as everything went according to plan this spring.On Monday evening, Francona
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians have an ace and one of the game's top starters in Corey Kluber. There was no question that manager Terry Francona was going to pencil Kluber in as his Opening Day starter, as long as everything went according to plan this spring.
On Monday evening, Francona revealed how the rotation will shape up after Kluber takes the ball in the April 3 season-opener against the Rangers in Arlington. Following Kluber, the starting five will be right-handers Carlos Carrasco (April 4 at Texas), Danny Salazar (April 5 at Texas), Josh Tomlin (April 7 at D-backs) and Trevor Bauer (April 8 at D-backs).
"The five of us that are going to open the year in the rotation, we all have a fair amount of experience," Kluber said. "We know how to get guys out and how to be successful. So, it really comes down to kind of taking care of your business and putting yourself in the best position to go out and do that."
With off-days on April 6 and April 10, a fifth starter won't technically be required until April 15. The Indians had the ability to skip a starter, and they had discussed possibily taking that approach with Carrasco, whose right elbow scare earlier in camp robbed him of a typical spring innings workload. Another option was to start Carrasco on the 10-day disabled list and carry an eight-man bullpen to start the year.
At least for the first road trip, Francona said no starter will have his turn skipped.
Carrasco is scheduled to work four innings in a Cactus League start against the Reds on Wednesday and, barring any setbacks, will be on the Opening Day roster as initially planned. Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway said on Monday that Cleveland is comfortable with Carrasco in the rotation out of the chute, as long as he is built up to around five innings.
"We feel after his four-inning outing, that he's going to be ready to go," Callaway said. "Obviously, he's not stretched out to the point that everybody else is, but we feel that him being Carrasco, and [getting] a good five innings out of him at 85 pitches, is going to be enough for him to move forward and be ready to go."
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.