Gomez makes his case for rotation

Gomez makes his case for rotation

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians are nearing decision time for the final spot in their rotation. Right-hander Jeanmar Gomez appears to have emerged as the leading candidate for the job, but manager Manny Acta has been careful not to tip his hand.

"He's done a tremendous job for himself," Acta said. "So it's up to us to make a decision."

Gomez saw his impressive spring scoreless streak come to a close on Sunday afternoon. But the pitcher worked through some jams and walked away with a solid effort in the Indians' 6-2 Cactus League loss to the Cubs. He turned in five innings for Cleveland and limited Chicago to three runs.

The Cubs tallied three times off Gomez in the third inning, snapping a run of 13 straight scoreless innings for the right-hander. Still, the starting candidate -- up against Kevin Slowey and David Huff for the staff's fifth spot -- has fashioned a 1.69 ERA over 16 innings this spring, scattering 11 hits along the way.

Seven of those hits came on Sunday, when Gomez also had three walks and three strikeouts. Overall, he logged 80 pitches, including 47 strikes, and registered first-pitch strikes to 14 of the 26 batters he faced. The three walks were the only times that Gomez faced any three-ball counts on the afternoon.

"I feel good because I worked with men on base, and I worked fine," Gomez said. "Right now, I'm trying not to think about that [competition]. ... I'm just trying to think about tomorrow."

While Gomez faced the Cubs, Slowey pitched in a Minor League game, allowing three runs on five hits over six innings. The right-hander mixed in three strikeouts and walked none in his 81-pitch effort. Slowey will likely start one way or another -- either with the Tribe or at Triple-A -- but Acta has mentioned Gomez and Huff as relief candidates, as well.

Asked if Gomez had pitched well enough to make the roster in some capacity -- as either a starter or reliever -- Acta said it was still too early to make such a pronouncement.

"We have more decisions to make before we get to that point," Acta said. "I'm not going to pencil him in [or] out of the rotation ... just yet, but he certainly has made his case. That's all I can tell you."