The top four in the Tribe's rotation is set -- Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Brett Myers, and Zach McAllister will take on that task -- but the last spot is up for grabs between three very different pitchers: a veteran looking to reclaim a lost career, a young arm coming back from Tommy John, and a top pitching prospect hoping for a shot with a new club.
It's hard to find much in common between Scott Kazmir, Carlos Carrasco, and Trevor Bauer, but one thing they all have going for them is the chance to lock up the fifth and final spot in the Indians' rotation this spring.
Returns never begin under the spotlight at Carnegie Hall. They start with a thought, a single step, usually doused in sweat.
On a cold and windy Sunday afternoon at Maryvale Baseball Park, Carlos Carrasco, Scott Kazmir and Trevor Bauer, competing for the same job in the rotation, took the next step in their comebacks.
Carrasco, 25, took the mound first and had a bit of a rough go of things, giving up four runs on four hits in an inning of work. It was his first inning of live action since undergoing TJ surgery in August 2011.
More Tribe: Spring Training Roster Guide
Kazmir had a better go of things in his two innings of work, his first for a big-league club since being released by the Angels in early 2011. The (still just) 29-year-old left-hander threw two scoreless innings of work, striking out one and not walking anyone. Bauer, 22, followed Kazmir with two scoreless innings of his own, striking out two and taking the victory for the Tribe.
Carrasco and Bauer both have spots on the 40-man roster, so their chances of making the Opening Day squad are likely much better than Kazmir's before you even take age and history into account. Nevertheless, it should be an interesting battle to keep an eye on.