Westbrook, Carmona show progress

Westbrook, Carmona show progress

INDIANAPOLIS -- Jake Westbrook and Fausto Carmona figure to front the Indians' rotation in 2010. But first, they have some work to do in the Winter Leagues.

Westbrook is rehabbing his arm after 2008 Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery, while Carmona is continuing to refine his mind and mechanics after two subpar seasons.

In two starts for Ponce in the Puerto Rican League, Westbrook has posted a 3.86 ERA in 4 2/3 innings of work. He's allowed a pair of runs on seven hits with a walk and two strikeouts.

General manager Mark Shapiro said the reports on Westbrook's second outing, in which he allowed a run on four hits with no walks and two strikeouts in three innings on Saturday, were especially encouraging.

"He was really good," Shapiro said. "Good sinker, all his pitches were there. He felt really good, which is obviously great to hear. He said it's the best he's felt in a game situation since the surgery [in May 2008]. Definitely more positive progress."

Westbrook, who projects as the Tribe's Opening Day starter if healthy, will make a minimum of four starts in Puerto Rico. Manager Manny Acta will be on hand to watch him next week.

As for Carmona, he made his first winter ball start for Aguilas in the Dominican Republic on Sunday and went 3 1/3 innings, allowing three runs, two of which were earned, on three hits with no walks and three strikeouts.

Earlier this offseason, Shapiro said the Indians were leaning against having Carmona pitch in winter ball, but Carmona insisted on pitching.

"It's important for him to get a feel for his delivery going into Spring Training," Shapiro said. "No walks [in the first start] is a positive."

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