As for Talbot, he came into camp as the odds-on favorite to win one of the rotation spots, as he is out of Minor League options and was acquired in the trade that sent Kelly Shoppach to the Rays.If he felt any pressure to impress new eyes, the 26-year-old Talbot didn't show it. He was 1-0 with a 0.79 ERA in 11 1/3 innings over four appearances, and he got stretched out to six innings of work in a Triple-A game Thursday. "I've done everything I can do," Talbot said after that last outing. Acta and pitching coach Tim Belcher agreed. "Mitch came to camp, he knew what was at stake, knowing this was a new club and a new coaching staff, and he impressed everybody," Acta said. "He showed an impressive repertoire and showed the ability to maybe go through a lineup three times or more." The Indians love Talbot's changeup, and his slider has been better than advertised. A right elbow sprain sidetracked Talbot in 2009 and forced him to pitch in the Arizona Fall League after the season to build up his innings. But in both 2007 and 2008, he won 13 games at Triple-A Durham, and he made his Major League debut with the Rays by making three appearances in '08. "He doesn't have much more to prove at Triple-A," Belcher said. Talbot, who is 62-54 with a 3.79 ERA in 166 career games in the Minors, takes pride in what he was able to accomplish at the Triple-A level. "No matter what level you're at," he said, "there's something to be said for learning how to win and how to develop at the same time." It is not yet clear whether Talbot will occupy the No. 4 or the No. 5 spot of the rotation. That will depend on whether Huff or Carrasco wins the other opening. If Huff gets it, he might slot into the No. 4 spot to break up the right-handers a bit. Carrasco (0-0, 2.25 ERA in three spring outings) is slated to start Sunday in Tempe against the Angels, while Huff (1-1, 5.40 ERA in five outings) will go Tuesday in Surprise against the Rangers. A decision on the final rotation spot could come Wednesday. Huff was the Tribe's team leader in wins last year, going 11-8 with a 5.61 ERA in 23 starts as a rookie. Carrasco was acquired in the July trade that sent Cliff Lee to the Phillies and joined the big league club in September. He was roughed up to the tune of an 0-4 record and 8.87 ERA in five starts. "They know now that they're competing for it," Acta said. "We'll see how they react in their next start. It doesn't have to [all] go into performance, but we want to see some of the stuff we've been preaching [throwing strikes and staying ahead of the hitters]." As far as the bullpen battle is concerned, Ambriz is a long shot, having battled an elbow injury that has limited him to just two Cactus League outings. Lewis has a Minor League option remaining, while the Indians would have to clear a place on the 40-man roster for Wright and/or Rivera. Wright has an out clause in his contract if he's not on the Opening Day roster, while Rivera has an out clause if he's not on the big league roster by May 15. Friday's news all but ensures left-hander Jeremy Sowers, who is out of options and still getting stretched out after battling shoulder soreness, will open the season on the disabled list. "We haven't finalized that one," Acta said. "But it doesn't look like he's going to be stretched out as a starter. We're still thinking about the other decision we have to make with him. We'll make it shortly."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.