But injuries and the Sabathia trade made it happen.
"You always want to think you've got a chance," Ginter said. "I went [into the season] with the mind-set that I could make a good impression on them."
Ginter was called up as a warm body from Triple-A Buffalo to make the July 12 start against the Rays. But he made a good impression by turning in five scoreless innings in which he allowed just five hits with no walks and five strikeouts.
"I was locating my pitches pretty well, and it made a big difference," he said. "I got ahead of hitters."
The end result was the 30-year-old Ginter's first win in the Majors since May 21, 2004. That didn't quite make up for his nearly three-year wait to get back to the bigs, but it was still a pretty special achievement for Ginter.
"It means a lot," he said. "You persevere, you keep grinding it out and you hope that somebody will give you a chance. Once you get that chance, you want to take full advantage of it."
Ginter's chance with the Indians is likely winding to a close. Carmona will return from the disabled list to rejoin the rotation Saturday, and the Indians will stick it out with the struggling Jeremy Sowers, who could be a part of their '09 rotation plans.
But while this stint with the Tribe is probably a brief one, Ginter is using it as a lesson in the value of perseverance.
"It's always easier said than done," he said. "You have to prove it to yourself. To still get outs in the big leagues is a pretty nice result."
CLE: RHP Matt Ginter (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
In his first Major League start since 2005, Ginter gave the Indians more than they could have expected in a pinch. The 30-year-old righty tossed five scoreless innings and rarely sniffed trouble in his first Major League win in four years. He struck out five and walked none, while only using an efficient 65 pitches. Ginter has struggled against the Angels, compiling a 8.72 ERA in one start and eight relief appearances.
LAA: RHP Jered Weaver (8-8, 4.03 ERA)
Weaver continued his recent run of solid outings by throwing six strong innings against the Rangers on July 9. He allowed just one earned run on seven hits, but the Angels lost the game on Josh Hamilton's game-winning home run in the ninth inning off closer Francisco Rodriguez. Weaver has allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of his last four starts.
The Indians have won seven of eight games. ... The Tribe is 3-10 in its last 13 road games. ... The Indians have homered in eight straight and 16 of their last 17 games. ... The Tribe is 14-12 against the American League West this season. ... Andy Marte has two homers in his last five games. ... Masa Kobayashi leads AL rookies in games (43) and saves (six).
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Official game notes
Wednesday: Indians (Aaron Laffey, 5-6, 3.61) at Angels (John Lackey, 7-2, 2.58), 3:35 p.m. ET
Friday: Twins (Livan Hernandez, 10-6, 5.29) at Indians (TBD), 7:05 p.m. ET