Tomlin solid in final bid for rotation spot

Tomlin went 6 1/3 and gave up four runs on seven hits with a pair of walks and five strikeouts in Tuesday's Cactus League game.

Darron Cummings/AP

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Josh Tomlin had a rough start but then settled down as the Indians lost to the Rangers 5-0 on Tuesday at Goodyear Ballpark.

The right-hander, who is making a bid for the final spot in the rotation, gave up two runs in the first and then allowed a two-run homer by Michael Choice in the sixth. Tomlin went 6 1/3 and gave up four runs on seven hits with a pair of walks and five strikeouts.

"I felt pretty good," Tomlin said. "I made a couple mistakes in the first inning. After that I was able to settle in and locate pitches, move the ball around and get some outs."

Tomlin got into trouble early though. Shin-Soo Choo led off with a single and then advanced to third on a hit-and-run single by Elvis Andrus. Elliot Johnson overthrew the cutoff man. Prince Fielder lined out to left before Adrian Beltre had a two-run single to right. Choice’s homer came with two outs in the sixth.

Tomlin has had one of the best springs on the Indians staff, but it has been mostly under the radar. Tuesday marked his first appearance in Cactus League game since March 14, but was solid in two recent minor-league starts.

Nineteen months post-Tommy John surgery, Tomlin has had better velocity on his fastball as camp has progressed.

"I’m pretty happy with my camp to be honest. To get the amount of innings after missing last year I needed it," he said. "I’ve been able to re-establish my fastball down and away. My game is not velocity though. It is moving the ball around."

Tomlin said he doesn’t know when there will be a final decision on if he or Carlos Carrasco have the final starting spot in the rotation. After the game, Terry Francona said the staff would discuss it some more Tuesday night.

The Indians had seven hits but Texas starter Robbie Ross held the Tribe in check, allowing only four hits and no walks in the first seven innings while striking out eight. Nick Swisher and Johnson both went 2 for 3 and had doubles.

Carrasco looking more like front-runner for final rotation spot

GIAMBI TO DL: Jason Giambi’s season will start on the disabled list. Giambi has not played since March 7 when he suffered a non-displaced rib fracture after being hit by a pitch by the Cubs Edwin Jackson. Giambi will be placed on the DL on Sunday and will be eligible to rejoin the team on April 5.

Giambi did say on Tuesday that he was hitting off a tee and had not been feeling any pain.

READY TO GO: With two more games in Arizona, Francona feels like his team is eager to begin the season on Monday in Oakland. A change in venue this weekend will also help as the Tribe face the Padres at the University of San Diego on Friday and Saturday.

"The timing (to break camp) is about appropriate. Guys are itching to get moving," he said.