Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Tomlin starts Tribe's first game today on MLB.TV

Right-hander set to face Reds in Cactus League opener
MLB.com @MLBastian

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The expectation is that ace Corey Kluber will be the one taking the ball on Opening Day. When the Indians open their Cactus League slate against the Reds today, though, righty Josh Tomlin will be the one on the hill.

For one day, the Tribe's probable fifth starter gets to be No. 1.

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The expectation is that ace Corey Kluber will be the one taking the ball on Opening Day. When the Indians open their Cactus League slate against the Reds today, though, righty Josh Tomlin will be the one on the hill.

For one day, the Tribe's probable fifth starter gets to be No. 1.

"Take that, Klubes," Tomlin said with a laugh. "No, it's cool to go out there, but I'm not the Opening Day starter."

Video: Josh Tomlin on starting Cactus League opener

Tomlin, whose main competition for the fifth spot is righty Cody Anderson, is scheduled to log one inning in today's 3:05 p.m. ET tilt, which will be streamed live on MLB.TV. Lefty TJ House -- a darkhorse candidate for the same job -- is slated for two innings behind Tomlin.

"It's nice to see some different hitters and see somebody that you're not teammates with," Tomlin said. "I'll go out there and try to just get it going and get back to that competitive nature."

The Indians' lineup will feature left fielder Rajai Davis, who was signed to a one-year contract over the offseason, along with regulars such as catcher Yan Gomes, right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall and first baseman Carlos Santana. Prospect Tyler Naquin will get the first start of the spring in center field, as the club looks to fill its outfield vacancies.

Spring: Tickets | Ballpark | 40-man roster | NRIs

Manager Terry Francona noted that third baseman Juan Uribe and outfielder Will Venable -- recent additions to camp -- will be held out of the first handful of games.

Worth noting
• During infield drills this spring, the Indians have set aside some time to practice fielding grounders and doing cut-off relays while in a defensive shift. The club started introducing shift-defense workouts last spring and have continued to build on those workouts this year.

"As we became more aggressive shifting in games," Francona explained, "we started to realize that in Spring Training, we really didn't do it that much. That was kind of our mistake as a staff. So, we try to do a little bit more. It's just maybe getting guys out of their comfort zone, especially in Spring Training, and trying to turn it into a comfort zone."

• Prior to Monday's workout, the Indians held a mandatory 90-minute meeting as part of Major League Baseball's efforts to improve domestic violence education. Francona has been pleased by the steps taken by MLB along those lines.

"Anytime you're getting information about something, it can't be bad," Francona said. "And it's not just sports -- it's real life. But, when it happens in our game, we all certainly probably take notice of it more."

• Outfielder Michael Brantley, who underwent surgery on his right shoulder in November, advanced to soft-toss drills in his hitting program on Monday morning. Previously, Brantley was limited to hitting off a tee. Right-hander Tommy Hunter (core-muscle surgery over offseason) went through his delivery without throwing a ball. Neither player is expected to be ready in time for Opening Day.

• Francona said he will "definitely" consider trying Santana as the leadoff man during a Cactus League game this spring. Francona indicated that he even asked the front office to run a study on whether Santana, who has great on-base ability, could be a viable leadoff hitter. Francona has yet to discuss the possibility with Santana, though.

• Francona noted that Michael Choice, who is one of the many players vying for one of the outfield jobs, tweaked his left hamstring on Monday morning. Francona added that Choice missed roughly a week last spring after a similar injury.

• Minor League right-hander Jordan Dunatov has received a 50-game suspension without pay after a second positive test for a drug of abuse, it was announced on Monday. Dunatov, currently on the roster of the rookie-level Arizona League Indians, missed the 2015 season due to right elbow surgery. His suspension will be effective at the start of the '16 Arizona League season.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.

 

Cleveland Indians