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Cleveland Indians

Pavano encouraged by latest outing

By Sheldon Published: March 10, 2009

Carl Pavano made his third and longest start of the spring and pronounced himself on track in the Indians' 8-4 loss to the Angels.

"I felt strong after the third inning,'' he said. ""I'm continuing to pound the zone and trying to get ahead in the count. I think I threw like 50 pitches. That's not ideal for three innings, but what are you going to do? It's that time of year, when you're working on stuff.''

Pavano gave up a three-run homer to Brandon Wood in the second inning, when he gave up all three of his hits. In seven spring innings, he has allowed six runs and seven hits.

"The home run was a changeup right there,'' Pavano said. "I think that guy has got me a couple of times (for home runs) in about four at-bats.''

Pavano was hardly discouraged. He has been pain free after missing most of the past four seasons with a variety of ailments.

"I think from my first outing until now I've gotten stronger and sharper,'' he said. ""And I'm continuing to get ground balls.''

Five of his nine outs came on balls hit in the dirt. He also struck out one.

"He put the ball on the ground and was making his pitches,'' manager Eric Wedge said.

(NO) KNOCK ON WOOD -- Closer Kerry Wood, held out of game action because of back soreness, made his first exhibition game appearance, retiring the side in order, striking out one.

Wood was asked about his transition from starter to reliever.

"When I was a kid, my favorites were Roger Clemens and Nolan Ryan,'' he said. "I didn't know what a reliever was. I remember seeing Ryan's seventh no-hitter when I got free tickets from the grocery store.''

Wood was happy to finally pitch in a game.
 
"It's nice to see a different uniform in the box,'' he said. ""That always adds a little level of adrenalin. There wasn't a huge crowd out there, but it's more than seven or eight coaches standing around.''

NOW IN RIGHT FIELD -- Ryan Garko might not have conquered left field yet, but he made his debut as a right fielder Tuesday against the Angels.

"Ryan worked out there for a few days with (coach) Jeff Datz,'' Wedge said. "He's done a good job in left field, so let's see what he can do in right. He's shown himself to be better (in the outfield) than most of us expected.''

Garko made two diffcult plays, the second coming in the fourth inning, when he chased a ball back to the wall in right and hauled it in.

"He took good routes to the ball, and that second ball was an especially tough play,'' Wedge said.

MAN TO WATCH -- Hector Rondon has been on the radar screens of Tribe officials for awhile, and he has confirmed their optimism in spring training, giving up one hit in three innings.

"He's been fantastic,'' Wedge said. ""The ball has been jumping out of his hand and jumping out easily. His secondary stuff also is better than anticipated. ''

Rondon, viewed as a career starter, will be Akron's rotation when the season starts.

NEGOTIATIONS CLOSED -- The Tribe announced the signing of 16 players, which means that the entire 40-man roster is under contract.

The latest signees: Asdrubal Cabrera, Trevor Crowe, Ben Francisco, Ryan Garko, Chris Gimenez, Zach Jackson, Jensen Lewis, Scott Lewis, Andy Marte, Edward Mujica, Rafael Perez, Hector Rondon, Juan Salas, Carlos Santana, Joe Smith and Luis Valbuena.

None of these players will earn more than $500,000.

MARCHING ONWARD -- After three consecutive road games, the Indians return to Goodyear Ballpark this afternoon to play the Rockies. Cliff Lee will start against Aaron Cook, with Joe Smith, Jeremy Sowers, Jensen Lewis, Rafael Betancourt, Masa Kobayashi, Matt Herges and Rich Rundles scheduled to follow Lee.

Smith will be making his first appearance of the spring after recovering from a viral infection.

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