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Tribe may have 13 pitchers on Opening Day roster

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- An unusual start to the Indians' regular-season schedule might influence the construction of the team's Opening Day roster.

Cleveland is considering carrying 13 pitchers -- as opposed to baseball's more customary 12-man staff -- due to having no off-days for nearly the first two weeks of April. The Tribe is scheduled to play 13 consecutive games out of the gate with its first off-day slated for April 15.

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The Indians open their season with back-to-back three-game road trips to Toronto (April 2-4) and Tampa Bay (April 5-7) -- a pair of domed stadiums -- before hosting the Yankees and White Sox in a seven-game homestand from April 8-14. Francona said the team is weighing whether to have an extra reliever on hand due to the daunting opening schedule.

"It's something we need to think about," Francona said on Sunday. "It's definitely something we've talked about a number of times. A lot of times you start the season out, you're either in cold weather and you have days off. We're in domes and we don't have days off. So it's something to think about."

As things stand, the bullpen projects to include closer Chris Perez, setup men Vinnie Pestano and Joe Smith, and right-hander Matt Albers. Others in the mix for jobs include Bryan Shaw, Cody Allen, Nick Hagadone, Scott Barnes, David Huff, Rich Hill and Matt Capps.

Albers and Huff are both out of Minor League options, while Hill and Capps are in camp as non-roster invitees.

If Cleveland opted to carry eight relievers on its Opening Day roster, that means the team would begin the season with three position players on the bench. Utility man Mike Aviles and backup catcher Lou Marson are in line for two of those jobs. Players in the mix for the final spot or two are Jason Giambi (non-roster), Ryan Raburn (non-roster), Yan Gomes and Ezequiel Carrera (out of options), among others.

"We're going to do whatever we think puts us in the best position to succeed," Francona said.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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