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Carmona grounds Padres

By Sheldon Published: March 14, 2009

Fausto Carmona dialed up his favorite pitch, a sinker, and delivered four scoreless innings, as the Indians defeated the San Diego Padres 8-6 at Peoria Stadium.

Of his 12 outs, nine came on ground balls, including one on a double play. Carmona also struck out two but walked three. In four appearances, he has permitted three earned runs and nine hits in 11 innings for a 2.45 ERA.

‘‘I was throwing the ball down and getting ground balls,’’ Carmona said. ‘‘I'm focusing on the catcher and trying to make sure I don't overthrow.’’

Wedge liked what he saw.

‘‘Fausto got better as the game went along,’’ Indinas manager Eric Wedge said. ‘‘That's what you want to see. When he starts to get out of sync, he does a good job of getting back in line.’’

IN THE SWING -- Asdrubal Cabrera singled, doubled and drove in two runs, raising his average to .273.

It has been a very long spring for Cabrera, who arrived at Goodyear on Jan. 15 and promptly lost 13 pounds, to trim his weight to the current 198.

‘‘I'm more comfortable this spring,’’ he said. ‘‘I feel quicker. I can move a little better.’’

The switch-hitting Cabrera has batted from both sides of the plate for so long, he doesn't really remember when he started, except that his parents told him.

‘‘I've been a switch hitter since I started playing, when I was three,’’ Cabrera said.

And whose idea was that? ‘‘Mine,’’ he said. ‘‘I think I'm a natural right-hander, because I do everything else with my right hand.’’

NOT PRETTY -- David Huff and Masa Kobayashi stumbled again.

Huff yielded two runs and four hits in two innings and has allowed four earned runs in four innings. Kobayashi worked one inning and gave up three innings. For the spring, he has permitted seven earned runs in four innings.

‘‘The ball isn't coming out of Masa's hand very well,’’ Wedge said. ‘‘He just hasn't found it yet this spring.’’

Could his job be in danger, despite his $3 million guaranteed contract?

‘‘We're still talking about getting ready for the season,’’ Wedge said. ‘‘But at some point, you want to see him to turn the corner and move in the right direction.’’

WHO'S NO. 3? -- If one of two catchers on the roster -- Victor Martinez or Kelly Shoppach -- become incapacitated, who would be called up from Columbus to be the backup?

The choices are Wyatt Toregas or Chris Gimenez, a converted infielder.

‘‘I don't know which way we're leaning,’’ Wedge said. ‘‘Both will catch at Triple-A. I like the versatility of Gimenez and Toregas' experience.

‘‘Gimenez plays left, right and first base. The irony of that is he signed as a third baseman.’’

But what is Gimenez's best position?

‘‘I don't know,’’ Wedge said. ‘‘He's improved so much as a catcher. Last year, we didn't know if he could be a catcher, but now he can catch in the big leagues.’’

JUST A TRIM, PLEASE -- It won't be long ` maybe as early as Monday -- before Wedge will make his first roster cuts.

That doesn't mean anyone will be released. Rather, there will be players sent back to the minor-league camp, where intrasquad games begin Monday and exhibition season starts Wednesday.

SCARY MOMENT -- Martinez was down but not out after being hit in the right arm with a foul tip off the bat of Emil Brown in the second inning.

After a brief examination by one of the trainers and a practice throw to Carmona on the mound, Martinez returned to his post behind the plate.

MARCHING ONWARD -- The Indians return to Goodyear to play the Milwaukee Brewers this afternoon. Scott Lewis will start against Seth McClung with Kerry Wood, Anthony Reyes, Tony Sipp, Greg Aquino and Juan Salas set to throw out of the bullpen.

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