Spring Training: Matsuzaka, Kazmir, Bauer shine in Indians debuts

On the first Sunday of Spring Training out in Arizona, the Cleveland Indians competed in two different intrasquad games. With half the team in Goodyear against Cincinnati and the other half in Maryvale against Milwaukee, three new Cleveland pitchers stole the spotlight.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, 32, pitched the third and fourth innings against the Reds. He needed only 10 pitches to do, walking one batter but retiring the other six he faced. His effort spurred the Indians to a 3-0 win with 7 pitchers combining on a 1-hitter. Despite Dice-K’s positive peripheral stats, there were some conflicting scouting reports of his performance. Per Tom Withers of the Associated Press:

Matsuzaka likely is a long-shot for a consistent rotation spot with the Indians in 2013. He doesn’t have much of any long-term prospects with the organization, although certainly his pre-existing relationship with new manager Terry Francona will help. Meanwhile, over in Maryvale, two other new pitchers provided nice outings as well.

Lefty Scott Kazmir, 29, arrived in relief of starter Carlos Carrasco, 25, who allowed four runs in a chaotic first inning. Kazmir restored order: He struck out one batter and allowed one hit in two scoreless innings. He had just 9 pitches, all strikes. This all is good early news for the former strikeout champion who hasn’t pitched in the majors since one outing in 2011. Reports indicated he was feeling good afterwards too, per the Chronicle-Telegram’s Chris Assenheimer:

Trevor Bauer, 22, then replaced Kazmir. The highly touted prospect, named No. 17 in baseball by MLB.com, punched out two batters and allowed two hits in his two innings of work. All 12 of his pitches were strikes. Unsurprising, Cleveland writers already were taken aback by his quirky warmup routines. Per 1100’s Nick Camino:

Obviously, this is just one of the many premature Spring Training storylines for the Tribe (hello, Ryan Raburn). We probably won’t have any clear indication about the leader for No. 5 rotation spot for at least another 2-3 weeks. For now though, this all was good news for new pitchers that have arrived in the last few months.

[Related: On the 2013 Indians starting rotation and narratives]

  • JeBron_Lames

    Encouraged by Bauer and Kazmir performances.

  • broseph

    I’m not sure about the beef with daisuke. He comes in with not having any arm strength due to resting it to get healthy, he pitches two no hit innings in ten pitches, and yet scouts are unimpressed? Sounds kind of pedantic. It takes weeks to get your arm in game shape, give the guy some time.

  • Steve

    Are you taking the pitch counts and number of balls and strikes from mlb.com gameday? Those are off for ST games. Dont record any balls unless a batter walks. Dont record any strikes on walks either.

  • 9 and 12 pitches in two innings seems small, but then again listening while driving its hard to catch the balls and strikes.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I wouldn’t get your hopes up too high about Dice-K… his isn’t know to have good velocity on his pitches even when he was fully healthy. At 32 years old he should be on the tail end of his prime, but it seems like he’s past his prime. I have more hope for Kazmir, he could be devastating since he found his velocity again.

  • Jay

    Is it just rotation spot-or-bust for Dice K? Is there any chance he may be able to stick around as a reliever?

  • Vindictive_Pat

    There is certainly a possibility. That pen looks a little crowded as it is, though… I expect Perez, Pestano, J Smith, Albers, and Shaw to all have a spot locked up. That leaves one definite spot up for grabs and one possible spot. I think the definite spot has to go to a lefty as all of the guys I mentioned before are right-handed, so Nick Hagadone probably has the inside track if he doesn’t blow it in Spring Training, with Rich Hill and Scott Barnes also possibilities. Matt Capps is also a proven reliever who is in the mix for a spot… it’ll be hard for a pitcher who is a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none type of guy to find a spot in the bullpen unless the Indians want him as a long reliever.