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Huff effective in start for Tribe

Huff effective in start for Tribe

INDIANS 3, MARINERS 1
at Goodyear, Ariz.
Thursday, March 25

Indians at the plate: The Indians went with what could be their Opening Day lineup, depending on how the Russell Branyan situation shakes out. Branyan could directly impact Michael Brantley, who started in left and contributed an RBI single in the fifth. That was the Tribe's first run off Felix Hernandez since the first inning, when Shin-Soo Choo scored on a throwing error by M's third baseman Chris Woodward. Travis Hafner doubled in the sixth and later came in on a wild pitch.

Mariners at the plate: The Mariners got on base fairly frequently but didn't have much to show for it. Jack Wilson took matters into his own hands with a solo shot off David Huff in the second inning.

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Indians on the mound: David Huff and Aaron Laffey are in a heated competition for one of the last two spots in the Indians' rotation (with Mitch Talbot and Carlos Carrasco also in the mix). Huff and Laffey both took the mound in this one and pitched effectively. Huff went 4 1/3 innings, allowing a run on five hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Laffey cruised through the game's final four innings.

Mariners on the mound: Hernandez looked downright nasty at times but he also had some control issues during his five innings of work. He was charged with a pair of runs, one of which was earned, on three hits with four walks and seven strikeouts.

Worth noting: Exhibition game? That didn't stop Milton Bradley from slamming hard into Tribe catcher Lou Marson when trying to score from third on a Ryan Garko fielder's choice in the fifth. Marson managed to hold onto the ball, and Bradley was out.

Cactus League records: Indians 13-6-2; Mariners 8-12-1.

Up next: No. 1 starter Jake Westbrook will be making what could be his final Cactus League tune-up Friday, when the Indians play host to the Rockies at Goodyear Ballpark in a 4:05 p.m. ET game. Westbrook's next day to throw would be March 31, but the Indians are facing his Opening Day opponent, the White Sox, that day, so Westbrook might pitch in the Minors. Westbrook, fully recovered from Tommy John surgery, has shown increased effectiveness with his sinker as this spring has progressed.

Back in Peoria on Friday, the Mariners will throw left-hander Luke French at the Reds in the 1:05 p.m. PDT game. French, who was acquired from the Tigers in the Jarrod Washburn deal, has been active (this will be his third start and fifth appearance) but is way on the outside as a possible temporary replacement with Cliff Lee's season-opening availability in doubt.

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

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