Tomlin eager to compete for spot on pitching staff

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Negotiations have ceased between the Indians and unsigned pitcher Josh Tomlin. The sides are scheduled to head to an arbitration hearing on Friday to determine the right-hander's salary for the upcoming season.

Cleveland has adopted a "file and trial" approach on a case-by-case basis with arbitration-eligible players, meaning in some instances the team will go to a hearing if salary figures are exchanged. Tomlin fell into that category for Cleveland, which won its hearing with reliever Vinnie Pestano on Friday.

"We've been open to trying to come to a settlement," Tomlin said on Tuesday. "Whatever happens, happens. That's just the business side of it. It's nothing you can really control. That's the way it is and the nature of the beast, I guess. Hopefully, we'll get this behind us pretty soon and we can focus on baseball."

Tomlin, who is vying for a spot in either the rotation or bullpen this spring, is seeking a salary of $975,000, while the Indians are offering $800,000. By arbitration standards, the gap in salary is slim, making it seem as though the sides took a stubborn approach during talks.

"I wouldn't say it's both sides being stubborn," Tomlin sad. "I think it's just both sides understanding the business side of it, and that's all it is. There's nothing personal about any of it."

Tomlin, 29, appeared in just one game (two innings) for the Indians last season, following a comeback from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. In parts of three seasons with Cleveland, he has gone 23-19 with a 4.92 ERA in 60 games (54 starts). Tomlin's best season came in 2011, when he went 12-7 with a 4.25 ERA across 26 starts for Cleveland.

Coming off a normal offseason, Tomlin said he is looking forward to doing all he can to make the Opening Day roster this spring.

"It's nice to get here and see the guys," he said. "It's good to be back and understand that you're in a spot to compete for a job. That's what I'm most excited about, being able to be healthy and going out there and trying to compete and do whatever it takes to help the team win games."

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.