GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — Manager Manny Acta hasn’t named Jeanmar Gomez as Cleveland’s fifth starter. Yet.
Gomez gave up his first runs of the spring as the Chicago Cubs beat the Indians 6-2 Sunday.
Alfonso Soriano hit his sixth homer, a two-run shot, and had three RBIs for Chicago.
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Gomez allowed three runs over five innings. The right-hander is competing with Kevin Slowey and David Huff for the final rotation spot. He walked three, struck out three and has a 1.69 ERA in five outings.
“I was really impressed the way Gomez battled without his fastball command,” Acta said. “He had to fight through it and it turned into another good outing.”
At the same time, Slowey worked six innings against the Cincinnati Reds’ minor-league team, allowing three runs and five hits without a walk.
“When you don’t throw 97, 98 (mph), you better not walk guys,” Acta said.
Gomez walked three and said he tried to be a little too fine at times. The first two Cubs batters reached, but he got Starlin Castro to hit into a double play. In the third, Chicago loaded the bases with none out and all three scored — on a groundout by Castro, Soriano’s sacrifice fly and single by Bryan LaHair.
“I still gave five innings to my team and feel good,” Gomez said. “I feel ready.”
Acta attributes Gomez’s success to an improved slider to go with a fastball and sinker. Gomez said veteran Ubaldo Jimenez has helped, too.
“I speak with him and watch video of when he was an All-Star in 2010,” Gomez said. “He helps me with how to attack hitters, how to pitch with men on base.”
The Cubs got 13 hits and were helped by four Cleveland errors — three within a span of two batters in a three-run seventh against reliever Rafael Perez, who yielded Soriano’s homer.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Soriano is the closest to being assured of a steady lineup spot. “Nothing is etched in stone except Soriano is going to be 3, 4 or 5,” Sveum said.
“I’ve probably lost more sleep over our batting order than anything. It’s just one of those things,” Sveum said. “It’s probably going to be four days from now where we just sit down and say `All right, this is what it’s going to be on opening day.’ “
Sveum said second baseman Darwin Barney, hitting .379 with a .406 on-base percentage, may bat leadoff in place of David DeJesus, who is hitting only .195 with a .298 OBP.
Cubs starter Rodrigo Lopez gave up two runs, two hits and two walks in the first. He worked 4 1-3 innings, walking three.
NOTES: Indians GM Chris Antonetti would not comment on reports that RHP Roberto Hernandez, the former Fausto Carmona, has a restructured contract. The right-hander, when he is removed from the restricted list, reportedly will make $2.5 million instead of $7 million, with a 2013 club option reduced from $9 million to $6 million. Paperwork with the U.S. Consulate in the Dominican Republic must be approved before Hernandez can come to America. … Chicago’s CF Joe Mather had two doubles and is hitting .432. He robbed Asdrubal Cabrera of extra bases with a nice catch near the warning track. … Chicago RHPs Blake Parker, Frankie De La Cruz and Alberto Cabrera each pitched one hitless inning. … Acta said 3B Jack Hannahan, out since March 15 with a sore back, could play Monday, “if he shows up OK and gets through batting practice.” … Cleveland RHP Chris Perez is scheduled to work one inning in a minor league game. He is recovering from a strained left oblique.