Gomez named fifth starter after hip injury scare

Gomez named fifth starter after hip injury scare

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- One needs only to chat with Indians starter Jeanmar Gomez for a few minutes to understand that he is a man of deep faith. When speaking with reporters, no matter the circumstances, Gomez always thanks God in some way.

On Monday morning -- only a few days following a scare with a right hip injury -- Gomez offered praise for being healthy and ready for the season.

"I feel good today," Gomez said. "Thanks to God."

Gomez is especially thankful because the minor injury, which flared in the fourth inning of his start on Friday, did not stop the pitcher from earning the fifth spot in the rotation. Gomez won that job with a strong spring showing and is scheduled to start against the White Sox on April 11 at Progressive Field.

"I felt a little pinch," said Gomez, referring to when he hurt his hip. "But after that, when I came back to the training room the next day after I pitched, they gave me ice and treatment and everything. Now I feel good."

On Monday, Gomez played catch from 90 feet with no issues. He said he was scheduled to throw in a long-toss session on Tuesday, and would likely work off a mound within the next few days.

Gomez, 24, fashioned a 1.37 ERA this spring in 19 2/3 innings, during which he struck out 14 and scattered 13 hits while limiting hitters to a .188 average. That performance helped him beat out righty Kevin Slowey and lefty David Huff for the lone vacancy on the starting staff.

"I felt happy, because they gave me the fifth spot for the rotation," Gomez said. "I feel good, but that's just one step. We need to continue to work hard every day. My slider was much better this year compared to two years ago. That helped me a lot with the hitters."

Last year, Gomez went 5-3 with a 4.47 ERA in 11 outings for the Indians, but he spent the bulk of the season with Triple-A Columbus. While pitching for the Clippers, the right-hander went 10-7 with a 2.55 ERA in 21 starts.