Acta will wait to announce Opening Day starter

Acta will wait to announce Opening Day starter

Acta will wait to announce Opening Day starter
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians are not holding a spring competition for the Opening Day starter role. Manager Manny Acta said on Monday that the club already knows who is in line to receive the honor.

Acta is just not ready to reveal Cleveland's choice.

"We've thought about it," Acta said. "And, of course, we know. But we just don't want you guys to get all your work in on the first day."

Kidding aside, the decision will come down to sinkerballer Justin Masterson or right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez. Masterson emerged as a staff leader for the Tribe last season. Jimenez was the club's prized acquisition -- costing the club a pair of top pitching prospects -- at the July 31 Trade Deadline last year.

Acta indicated that he wants the pitchers to get through the first week or so of throwing before possibly announcing who will get the Opening Day nod against the Blue Jays on April 5 in Cleveland. The early portion of their throwing programs includes a progression from bullpen sessions to facing live hitters in a simulated-game setting.

Cleveland's pitchers and catchers reported to Arizona on Monday and will undergo physicals on Tuesday. The team's first official workout for its pitchers and catchers will be held on Wednesday at the Player Development Complex.

"We want to make sure that we cover all our points," Acta said, "and we don't have to change our mind in a week. We just have to make sure guys come in and throw, go through the first week and then, when everybody gets the check mark, we'll go from there."

Masterson went 12-10 with a 3.21 ERA in 34 games for the Indians last season. He piled up 216 innings, ending the year with 158 strikeouts and 65 walks. The right-hander underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his left (non-throwing) shoulder on Oct. 12, but Acta said the pitcher has no limitations as Spring Training begins.

Jimenez -- a 19-game winner and Cy Young contender in 2010 with the Rockies -- endured an up-and-down year last season with Colorado and Cleveland. The Indians landed him with a four-player package, which included highly touted pitching prospects Alex White and Drew Pomeranz.

In 11 starts down the stretch with the Indians, Jimenez went 4-4 with a 5.10 ERA. Over his first 21 outings with the Rockies, the righty went 6-9 with a 4.46 ERA after dealing with groin and thumb issues early last spring. Jimenez spent the offseason training in the Dominican Republic and is deemed healthy right now.

"We know who it's going to be," Acta said of the Indians' Opening Day choice. "We've got our mind made up and all that. We just don't want to give you a name now before they even get on the field."