Indians 5, White Sox 2

While the White Sox avoid using their starting pitchers against

American League Central opponents, the Indians figure they’ve seen

their rivals so often a few spring training games won’t hurt.

So at the same time Jake Peavy was throwing 81 pitches on a back

field against minor leaguers, Ubaldo Jimenez worked five solid

innings against Chicago in a 5-2 victory Wednesday.

”I felt good,” Jimenez said. ”I was able to go out there and

throw all my breaking balls and fastball for a strike. In the first

two or three innings, I was able to command the fastball in and

away. I felt good.”

After stringing together four hits in the second, including an

RBI ground-rule double to center by Gordon Beckham and a

run-scoring single by Dewayne Wise, the White Sox were held to two

hits in the final six innings against Jimenez and four Indians

relievers.

Jimenez knew the White Sox were sitting on his fastball during

the second, so he went to some breaking pitches to stop the damage.

He allowed seven hits before going to the bullpen for 10 more

pitches. Jimenez did not walk a batter and struck out three. He is

penciled in to be the Indians’ No. 2 starter after Justin

Masterson.

”He was pretty good,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.

”He didn’t really throw his off-speed pitches for strikes, but he

only gave up the two (runs), and they got four hits in a row. It

wasn’t like he was walking people. I thought it was, for the most

part, really encouraging. I think it proves to him, hopefully, that

he can live with that fastball.”

Much has been made of Jimenez’s velocity drop on his fastball,

but Francona said it’s not an issue with him.

”I don’t think that’s something we ever care to talk about,”

Francona said. ”He fell into that rut last year where he was

reaching back trying to get more. With his movement, if he just

stays on target, he’s fine.”

Infielder Cord Phelps hit a two-run homer against Chicago

prospect Deunte Heath in the seventh inning to extend a 3-2

lead.

Lonnie Chisenhall and Asdrubal Cabrera each doubled for the

Indians, giving Cleveland a major league-leading 46 doubles this

spring.

Alexei Ramirez (.409) singled twice and stole a base, and Wise

had two singles for the White Sox.

NOTES: Indians right-handed reliever Frank Hermann will miss the

season after having Tommy John surgery on Wednesday in New York.

Hermann, 28, has pitched in 95 games for Cleveland over the past

three seasons, including 15 last season when he posted a 2.33 ERA.

He was competing for a spot in the bullpen but hadn’t pitched since

Feb. 25. . White Sox third baseman Jeff Keppinger’s sore shoulder,

which has lingered since the beginning of camp, kept him out of the

lineup again but manager Robin Ventura downplayed it, saying the

team is being overly cautious. Keppinger might play second when he

returns, perhaps this weekend, to avoid longer throws. .

Right-handed reliever Jesse Crain (groin) threw a bullpen session

and is getting close to game action, Ventura said. . Zach

McAllister, the Indians No. 4 starter, pitches against the Royals

in Goodyear on Wednesday. . White Sox lefty John Danks continues

his recovery from August shoulder surgery when he starts against

the Angels in Tempe.