Pitchers lined up for initial spring games
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- It was a cold and wet Wednesday in the desert and the Indians were restricted to taking batting practice and throwing bullpens in the cages of their Spring Training complex.
That gave manager Terry Francona a morning to do some paperwork, and he produced the pitchers he will throw against the Reds on Friday and Saturday at Goodyear Ballpark.
For Friday's charity game, Giovanni Soto gets the start and will be followed by Vinnie Pestano, Joe Martinez, Rich Hill, Matt Langwell, Fernando Nieve and Frank Herrmann.
For Saturday's Cactus League opener, newcomer free-agent signee Brett Myers gets the start, followed by Chris Perez, Corey Kluber, Matt Albers, Scott Barnes, Edward Paredes and Bryan Shaw.
Soto is pitching for Puerto Rico and Pestano and Perez are on the Team USA roster for the upcoming World Baseball Classic. Both brackets for those respective teams open on March 7-8. Puerto Rico is in San Juan and the U.S. at nearby Chase Field.
Asked if there was any thought pattern to these decisions, Francona said: "We just started sorting through the names. Soto is going to be starting a game in the WBC. We thought it might be good for him to warm up like that just to help him out. That's all it is."
Francona said he held back non-roster invitee Scott Kazmir just to give him an extra bullpen session before putting him in a game. Joe Smith, who's nursing a left oblique strain, threw a 20-pitch bullpen on Wednesday and is back on track.
About Kazmir, the left-hander who has pitched in the Majors -- for the Angels -- only once since the end of the 2010 season because of various injuries, Francona said there was nothing particularly wrong.
"Oh no, no," he said. "It was totally, completely wanting to and thinking that one more bullpen session would be good for him. And we've been trying to drive it home with guys so that when they're honest enough to tell us, we appreciate it. No, he's actually been anything but injured. The way he's been throwing the ball scares me. I wish he could bottle it right now and start the season."
About Smith, Francona added: "He threw a 20-pitch bullpen and he did well. He'll have the two days [off] and then he'll probably up that to 30-35 [range]. So he's doing very well. He's on like Day 1 of Spring Training. You just kind of count it out from here. But he's doing fine."