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Cleveland Indians

Carmona continues mowing them down

By Sheldon Published: March 24, 2009

Jeremy Sowers was the most prominent name on the Indians' latest list of cuts Tuesday.

The departure of Sowers from big-league camp leaves Aaron Laffey and frontrunner Scott Lewis as the final two competitors in the battle to become the No. 5 starter.

"Jeremy is ready to make some strides,'' manager Eric Wedge said. ""He needs to get stretched out now and get more consistent work to get better.''

Sowers did not have horrid numbers this spring, compiling a 4.91 earned-run average in 142/3 innings.

"He really got it together at times, but he needs more consistency,'' Wedge said. ""His arm speed is improved, he's starting to show some consistency with his breaking ball, and he's been doing a better job with his fastball.''

Wedge was asked why he pulled the trigger so early on Sowers.

"It's really not that early,'' the manager said. ""I want these guys (going to the minors) to be ready in April, in case we need somebody We're breaking with 25 players, but we're really looking at 35 or whatever it may be''

Sowers will start for Columbus when the season begins. In both 2007 and 2008, he spent time in the minors only to be promoted.

Also on the cut list were catcher Wyatt Toregas, right-handers Kirk Saarloos and Greg Aquino, first baseman Michael Aubrey plus outfielders Michael Brantley and Matt LaPorta.

None of these players was expected to make a serious bid for a roster spot, with the possible exception of Saarloos, who had some chance to win the battle for the final berth in the bullpen.

LaPorta will play both left and right field at Columbus; Brantley will play left and center. Both are among the brightest prospects in Cleveland's farm system.

Thirty-seven players remain in camp, including Jake Westbrook, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery.

FAUSTO FIRING -- Fausto Carmona delivered five strong innings, allowing two hits and two walks, as the Indians and White Sox played to a 2-2 tie at Goodyear Ballpark.

In five spring outings, Carmona has posted a1.69 earned-run average in 16 innings. 

"I thought Fausto was real good today,'' Wedge said. ""A great sign is that he wasn't on track at the beginning, but he fixed it. That's more than half the battle, especially for him.''

In the past, when Carmona was overthrowing or becoming over-excited on the mound, he had trouble getting his delivery back under control.

Carmona threw between 70-75 pitches and Wedge intends to get him and the other starters to 100 before the regular season starts April 6.   

HAFNER HACKING -- Travis Hafner, coming off shoulder surgery, has hit very few balls with authority this spring.

But he came to the plate in the 10th and whacked a rocket shot to left that was caught.

"I watched him in batting practice today, and he was very good,'' Wedge said. ""His swing is a little more aggressive. But it's going to continue to take at-bats for him.''

MARCHING ONWARD -- The Indians travel to  Peoria this afternoon to play the Padres. Carl Pavano will start against Kevin Correia. Kerry Wood, Joe Smith, Vinny Chulk and Matt Herges will be in the bullpen.

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