Ask 100 Indians fans who their top starting pitcher is and all 100 will answer “Fausto Carmona.” So it comes as no shock that after his two scoreless innings in yesterdays 12-0 Spring Training rout of the Cincinnati Reds, manager Manny Acta officially gave Carmona the ball for Opening Day, which is just a month away.
“He deserves it,” said Acta.
Really, who else was it going to be? While the Indians have grandiose dreams that Justin Masterson becomes a legit top of the rotation guy, Carmona was really the only option. The big right-hander is coming off a season where he found himself again and finished with a 3.77 ERA, his best since the 2007 season where he was thought to be the Tribe’s budding ace.
The key for Fausto was a fresh start with a new coaching staff, and a move to the left side of the pitching rubber. A move as simple as this seemed to calm him. Carmona version 3.0 (version one was 2007, version two was the lost soul of 2008 and 2009) didn’t fall in love with his sinker and found his control again. He really finished strong, notching a 1.82 ERA in September in five starts.
Fausto’s issue during his lost 2008 and 2009 season seemed to be more mental than physical. His story was well chronicled, including a trip all the way down to rookie ball in Arizona to rebuild himself from square one. But he is building his way back to the precocious kid who was close to unhittable during his first year as a starter in 2007.
Becoming the Indians Opening Day starter is just another step for Fausto, who must have a big year if the Indians are going to hang around in the AL Central race.
In other Tribe News…..
New reliever Chad Durbin has signed his contract today and officially become a member of the Indians. A subsequent 40-man roster move is going to have to take place. While there has been no word on who it will be, my best guess is that Shelley Duncan’s nine lives will run out.
As much as we all love Shelley’s personality, he is caught in a numbers crunch. Matt LaPorta is locked into first base. Austin Kearns was signed as the fourth OF/first right-handed bat off the bench, and with the third base job so up for grabs, Jayson Nix’s versatility gives him the edge as the extra bench guy over Shelley. Even with Grady Sizemore not expected to be ready for opening day, non-roster invitee Travis Buck seems to have an edge over Duncan.
Speaking of Kearns, the Indians announced today that the Outfielder was arrested and charged with DWI in Lexington, Kentucky on February 12th. His court hearing is scheduled for March 10th. Its odd that this is now being leaked as opposed to when it actually happened.