PHOENIX: It would be a mistake to rely on spring training outings to evaluate a player, particularly a veteran.
But Brett Myers hasn’t exactly been a model of consistency on the mound. Friday, he made his fourth start of exhibition season and was shelled for four runs, seven hits and three walks in four innings, as the Milwaukee Brewers defeated the Indians 4-3 at Maryvale Baseball Park.
In 12⅔ spring innings, Myers has given up 10 earned runs, 19 hits and seven walks, compiling an ERA of 7.10.
If there is reason to worry, manager Terry Francona is having none of it. Asked when he might be concerned, Francona said, “July?”
The manager was being facetious, and he gave a strong defense of Myers.
“His last outing — until he couldn’t get the last out — was stellar,” Francona said. “I don’t put any concern on numbers [in spring training]. I think he’s going to be a good pitcher for us.”
Myers spent all of last year in the bullpen, so it might be taking him longer to stretch out his arm. Friday, he was assigned to throw 70 pitches, and that’s what he did.
“He fought his command a little,” Francona said. “He never gives in. He threw strikes with all his pitches. I can see why he goes deep in games when he’s built up.”
Joe Smith, who missed time with an oblique strain, made his third outing of the spring and worked one scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk, striking out one.
Mark Reynolds hit his second homer of the spring in the ninth, a ball that traveled about 450 feet, striking a concrete wall some 80 feet beyond the left field fence.
Nick Swisher had two singles and drove in a run, raising his average to .455.
When Yan Gomes slid into third in the fourth inning, he came up limping and had to leave the game.
Afterward, Francona said Gomes was the victim of nothing more than a cramp, and that probably will not keep him from playing. Gomes doubled and singled to lift his average to .385.
Keeping in touch
Carlos Santana’s Dominican Republic team remains in the hunt for the WBC championship, but the Tribe catcher stays in touch with Francona.
“I talked to him the other night,” Francona said. “He must be bored. He called just to talk.”
Francona believes that Santana, out of necessity, was asked to do too much in 2012.
“How about catching and handling the staff, and by the way, we want you to hit cleanup,” Francona said. “They had to do it last year. I understand that. But with our lineup now, we can take some of the burden off of Carlos and give the batting order more balance.”
First baseman Mike McDade was optioned to Triple-A Columbus, and infielder Nate Spears was reassigned to the minor-league complex, leaving 49 players in major-league camp.
Chris Perez will throw his first bullpen session today since suffering a shoulder strain early in camp, and Daisuke Matsuzaka will get his work in by throwing in a minor-league game today.
The Indians return to Goodyear to play the San Francisco Giants in the first night game of the spring. Carlos Carrasco will start for the Indians against Chris Heston.
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.