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Smith set to make Cactus League debut on Tuesday

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MESA, Ariz. -- The Indians have yet to have their late-inning bullpen trio of closer Chris Perez and setup men Vinnie Pestano and Joe Smith available for exhibition games at the same time this spring, but all that matters is that they will be ready for the regular season.

Following a conservative comeback from a minor left abdominal strain, Smith is scheduled to make his Cactus League debut on Tuesday against the Giants. There is still plenty of time remaining for the right-handed sidearmer to be ready for Opening Day.

"He's going to pitch tomorrow. That's good," Indians manager Terry Francona said on Monday. "I don't think there was a major concern. We just wanted to make sure he was good to go and he did a very good job, and he's fine now. That's good.

"We didn't need to have something dragging out and having him try to nurse his way through it. It'll be fun to see him out there."

Smith injured his side shortly before camp opened, and has spent the past three weeks working through a throwing program -- advancing through catch, long toss, bullpen sessions, simulated games and live batting practice.

Perez is sidelined with a right shoulder injury and, barring a setback, will not be ready to resume game activity for at least three weeks. The Indians are also without Pestano, who is currently training with Team USA in preparation for the World Baseball Classic.

The 28-year-old Smith, who signed a one-year deal worth $3.15 million to avoid arbitration this past offseason, went 7-4 with a 2.96 ERA last season, during which he had 53 strikeouts and 25 walks in 72 appearances (67 innings). Smith had a 2.01 ERA in 71 games for the Indians in 2011.

{"event":["spring_training" ] }
{"event":["spring_training" ] }
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