GOODYEAR, Ariz.: Scott Kazmir continued his comeback by throwing four scoreless innings Monday, as the Indians and Los Angeles Angels played to a 0-0 tie at Goodyear Ballpark.
With one spot open in the Tribe’s rotation, Kazmir seems to have the upper hand over Carlos Carrasco, who missed all of last season after undergoing elbow reconstruction surgery. Carrasco has returned to good health, but he needs to regain his normal sharpness and that might take a while.
Kazmir allowed three hits and a walk but struck out four against a lineup that included Josh Hamilton, Mark Trumbo, Howie Kendrick and Vernon Wells.
“They had a good lineup today,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “It was a good test for him, and he did really well.”
Kazmir seemed satisfied with his outing but not overly so.
“I felt pretty good,” he said. “I wasn’t as sharp as I want to be, but I threw a lot of strikes. I still felt strong in the fourth inning, so that was encouraging.”
Daisuke Matsuzaka had to leave the game with an injury as he warmed up in the seventh.
After pitching a scoreless sixth, Matsuzaka began warming up in the seventh, when Francona, one of the club’s trainers and Matsuzaka’s translator trotted to the mound.
“He had a cramp in his right calf,” Francona said. “It’s hard to let a guy keep pitching like that.”
Unless the diagnosis changes, Matsuzaka probably won’t miss his next appearance, though Francona was in no position to answer that question.
“I haven’t even seen him yet,” Francona said.
The Tribe didn’t generate much offense, but Michael Bourn doubled and singled.
Nine more players were lopped off the spring roster leaving 51 players in camp.
Optioned to Triple-A Columbus were Tim Fedroff, Trey Haley, T.J. House, Chen-Chang Lee and Danny Salazar. Matt LaPorta, Fernando Nieve and Roberto Perez were reassigned to the minor-league camp.
Left-handed matchup reliever Rich Hill was added to the 40-man roster, and Blake Wood (elbow injury) was moved to the 60-day disabled list.
Ben Francisco asked for and was granted his release so he could sign with the New York Yankees and purportedly compete for a spot in the outfield.
At least a couple of the players sent to the minor-league camp made an impact on Francona.
“In limited innings, Salazar was really impressive,” Francona said. “He has a certain presence, a good fastball, a live arm and a really good change-up.
“Fedroff liked big-league camp but felt he didn’t make a good impression. He made a great impression, he just didn’t swing the bat the way he wanted.”
Haley and LaPorta won’t play for an indeterminate span of time because they are recovering from injuries.
Justin Masterson threw five scoreless innings in a B Game against the Angels, giving up two hits, no walks and striking out four.
Matt Capps and Cody Allen, competing for spots in the bullpen, also pitched well for one inning each. Allen gave up two hits but struck out three, and Capps allowed no hits and struck out one.
Tim Fedroff tripled, doubled and singled; Chris McGuiness and Jeremy Hermida homered.
Mark Reynolds (back stiffness) probably won’t play until Thursday.
“I don’t want all nine regulars playing on the road Wednesday,” Francona said. “So maybe he’ll come back on Thursday.”
Everyone in fold
The Tribe came to terms with 12 more players, and the contracts of two were renewed, making everyone on the 40-man roster signed for 2013.
Scott Barnes, Ezequiel Carrera, Juan Diaz, Yan Gomes, Nick Hagadone, Frank Herrmann, David Huff, Jason Kipnis, Chen-Chang Lee, Mike McDade, Cord Phelps and Josh Tomlin agreed to one-year deals.
The front office renewed the contracts of Carlos Carrasco and Vinnie Pestano.
Players with less than three years’ service time whose contracts are renewed were unable to come to agreement with management, which has the right to sign the player at the club’s figure.
With Venezuela having been eliminated from the WBC tournament, Asdrubal Cabrera was expected back in Goodyear Monday night.
The Indians are off today.
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.