Created on Friday, 22 March 2013 Written by BOB BAUM,AP Sports Writer
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Carlos Carrasco had a so-so day in his push for the fifth spot in the Cleveland Indians' rotation.
The competition dwindled to two players — Carrasco and Scott Kazmir — after the Indians' sent Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber to Triple-A Columbus on Thursday morning.
That afternoon, Carrasco gave up four runs on eight hits in the Indians' 5-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Michael Brantley hit a three-run home run on a 3-0 fastball from Arizona's Ian Kennedy in the first inning.
"Nice swing," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "That's the way you swing at a 3-0 pitch. That was good. We had a good day. We got a bunch of at-bats early."
Carrasco allowed four runs on eight hits in five innings. He struck out three and walked four.
"I think he continues to show good stuff," Francona said. "The one inning when they got the runs, we lost a ball in the sun, things like that, and then they hit the ball hard. I think he's making progress. His arm is good. He looks healthy. I think it's exciting. That's the best way to put it."
Kazmir, who is having an outstanding spring, gets his next start on Saturday against Seattle in Peoria.
Francona said Bauer understood the decision to have him open the season at Triple-A Columbus. Bauer, known for his quirky warmup regimen, was the No. 3 draft pick overall by Arizona in 2011. He was traded in the offseason to Cleveland as part of a three-team deal.
"He was great — very insightful," Francona said. "We ask as many questions as we talk, because that's part of it. He's in a good place. We tried to impress upon him — I know today is the day we sent him down — but it's really not. It's really the start of his progression."
Kennedy, Arizona's opening day starter, was tagged for five runs on nine hits in five innings. He struck out seven. Kennedy has allowed nine runs in his last two outings. He acknowledged some fatigue, especially after he had to outrun the Diamondbacks' speedy rookie Adam Eaton when both scored, from second and first, on Martin Prado's double over the head of Brantley in left field.
He said that, with an extra week added to spring training because of the World Baseball Classic, he and a lot of his teammates just want the season to start.
"You ask a lot of us, we're ready to go play at Chase (Field)," Kennedy said, "get the real games going. But for me, I want to get one more start in to get my pitch count up to know I'm happy and feeling ready."
Kennedy said he was unhappy with the way he threw his changeup.
"I felt like I left a lot of pitches over the plate," he said. "I'm not saying my command felt that great but after I had to run the bases, Eaton behind me, I had to go from zero to 100 with Eaton behind me, so I got a little tired."
He said he threw about eight or 10 additional pitches in the bullpen afterward.
Manager Kirk Gibson said he's not concerned about Kennedy being ready for the opener.
"He struggled, obviously," Gibson said, 'left some balls out over the plate. I didn't think he got his off-speed stuff over early, got behind, left some fastballs out over the plate and they beat on that pretty good. He got a little frustrated as well but overall his arm's good, he's throwing the ball good, his velocity was good today. I think we'll see more consistency from his secondary pitches next time out"
NOTES: Cleveland's Omir Santos drove in two runs with a double and single. ... Kennedy's ERA this spring rose to 7.59. ... The crowd of 12,574 was another Diamondbacks' home sellout. ... Brantley was coming off a 3-for-3 game with two RBIs against the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday.