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Carmona likely to start Saturday

Carmona likely to start Saturday

ANAHEIM -- The Indians have had no shortage of key players land on the disabled list this season.

Finally, they're getting one of them back.

Assuming his side session at Angel Stadium goes well Tuesday, Fausto Carmona is expected to rejoin the Tribe rotation Saturday against the Twins. It will be the right-handed Carmona's first start since straining his left hip against the Rangers on May 23.

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"It's something we've definitely been looking forward to," manager Eric Wedge said of Carmona's return. "Obviously, he's a big part of our starting rotation. To have him back should be a big boost for us."

Carmona's injury was a big part of the Tribe's downward spiral out of contention in the American League Central Division. While the Indians were able to withstand the early season absence of Jake Westbrook with a solid first half from Aaron Laffey, Carmona's absence was never really accounted for. Jeremy Sowers (1-5, 7.33 ERA) has struggled since his permanent promotion from Triple-A Buffalo.

But with CC Sabathia long gone, Sowers will remain in the mix when Carmona comes back. Sowers is slated to start Sunday against the Twins. The odd man out, then, is right-hander Matt Ginter, who will make his second spot start Tuesday against the Angels.

The Indians are using Thursday's off-day to realign their rotation and separate the left-handers. Cliff Lee will get the nod Friday.

Carmona, who endured a setback a month ago that extended his time on the 15-day disabled list, made rehab starts at Class A Lake County and Double-A Akron and reported no problems with the hip. He shouldn't be on an overly restrictive pitch count against the Twins.

"He's good to go for pretty normal circumstances," Wedge said.

A surprise 19-game winner in 2007, Carmona was struggling a bit with his command before landing on the DL. He was 4-2 with a 3.10 ERA in 10 starts, walking 38 batters and striking out 23 in 58 innings.

Though the goal of Carmona's rehab was to ensure he's healthy and not to work on the command problem, Wedge isn't expecting Carmona to struggle as much with the walks as the season winds down.

"I don't think that's going to be an issue in the end," Wedge said. "He didn't have the command he needed to [early on], but, in the end, you're going to see a guy pounding the zone and getting quick outs."

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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