Published April 02, 2012
GOODYEAR, Ariz. – Chris Perez is healthy and back as Cleveland's closer. Sean Marshall now has that role in Cincinnati.
Perez pitched a perfect inning for the Indians in a 2-1 loss to the Reds, after which Reds manager Dusty Baker announced that Marshall will open the year as the closer in place of Ryan Madson, out for the season.
"Sean Marshall's our closer for now," Baker said of the lefty, who went 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA in 11 innings over 10 Cactus League outings.
"He's closed a few games, not a lot," Baker said. "He can throw that breaking ball for strikes anytime he gets ready and that's hard to do in Arizona with this light air and all. He's not fazed by situations. He's been around awhile. He's a veteran guy and has had success."
The Indians learned afterward that Ubaldo Jimenez was suspended for five games by Major League Baseball for hitting Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki with a pitch. He's appealing the suspension and will still make his start Saturday against Toronto.
"It's disappointing, but I'm not surprised," Indians manager Manny Acta said.
Acta said he expects Jimenez to appeal.
"He'll work through that process. He's starting the second game of the season," Acta insisted.
Acquired in a trade from the Chicago Cubs in December, Marshall had six of his seven career saves over the last two seasons, when he worked exclusively in relief 158 times.
Hard-throwing Aroldis Chapman, who started four games this spring, has been moved back to the Reds' bullpen in a setup role.
Acta is delighted that Perez will be ready when Cleveland opens the season Thursday at home against Toronto. The right-hander, an All-Star a year ago, missed a month with a strained left oblique, but worked three times in the last week, not allowing a hit or walk over three innings.
"He's erased any doubts," manager Manny Acta said. "He's been tremendous, around the strike zone with good stuff. The only thing he didn't do was go back-to-back (consecutive games). He'll get to do that during the season."
Reds starter Bronson Arroyo gave up seven hits and one run over 6 1-3 innings. The right-hander has had some overall soreness, but said he felt better.
"I feel as good as I can," Arroyo said. "I was going to dial it back. I've been feeling a little sore but I was throwing free and easy in the bullpen. I threw a little harder than I expected to. Today was definitely the best I felt. My overall command was good, all my pitches being there."
Baker was pleased.
"Bronson was the best he's been all spring," Baker said. "We had good execution. We got the runner over and got him in. You have to win games like that when you're not hitting. We need to do a better job of that this year."
The Reds scored on sacrifice flies by Chris Heisey and Devin Mesoraco. Jason Donald doubled home the Indians' run.
Josh Tomlin allowed three hits and one run over five innings in his final start for Cleveland.
"His last three starts were very satisfying," Acta said. "He's not a power guy. He has to continue to throw a lot of strikes. He's put it together."
NOTES: Madson will have Tommy John surgery, but no date has been set. ... Cleveland released OF Fred Lewis. ... Indians SS Asdrubal Cabrera did not play and told a reporter he was going to take a physical. Though Cabrera has had slight soreness in his throwing arm, the trip to the doctor more likely was part of the All-Star soon getting a reported new contract that adds two-years and $16.5 million. ... Both teams left camp after the game. The Reds went to Cincinnati, where the regulars will play the rookies Tuesday in a Spring Showcase Futures Game. ... The Indians went to Zebulon, N.C., for a Tuesday game against their Class A Carolina League affiliate.