Sheldon Ocker

GOODYEAR, Ariz.: It was a tough day for Indians pitchers.

Jeanmar Gomez sustained a mild strain of the right hip when he dived into first base to complete a fourth-inning double play in what became a 6-5 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

When Gomez returned to the mound, head trainer Lonnie Soloff was there to check him out. Gomez tried to continue, throwing ball one and ball two to Chris Heisey before departing with Soloff.

“He’s day to day,” manager Manny Acta said. “I’m not anticipating that it’s serious. But it looked like he had a tough time pushing off.”

Gomez is embroiled in a competition with Kevin Slowey for the fifth spot in the rotation.

“If he [Gomez] wins the fifth spot, he doesn’t have to pitch until Halloween,” Acta said, exaggerating to make a point.

Slowey was pitching in a Triple-A game and gave up seven runs, seven hits and a walk, striking out four in five innings. He threw 85 pitches.

“If something [serious] happened to Gomez,” Acta said, “we still have Slowey, [Zach] McAllister and [Scott] Barnes.”

Reliever Dan Wheeler, told that he had made the team earlier in the day, celebrated by pitching the eighth inning and giving up five runs on five hits, including three homers.

“We relied a lot on his track record,” Acta said. “But his last four outings were good, then he had a bad one today.”

On Thursday, the Tribe split its roster to play two games and a starting pitcher was injured in each game. Derek Lowe suffered pain in his rib cage (first described as back spasms), and David Huff strained his right hamstring.

“Right now, Lowe is scheduled to start that game [against Class A Zebulon Tuesday],” Acta said Friday. “The DL is not something that’s even going through our heads.

“But there’s no chance David will be ready for Opening Day. He showed up better today, but he would need a big miracle [to pitch in a week]. He looks like a DL candidate.”

Huff said he had a hamstring problem during the winter.

“I hurt it running sprints,” he said. “This is in the same spot, but I don’t know if they have anything to do with each other.”

Lowe already has a job in the rotation locked up. Huff was ostensibly in the race to become the fifth starter in the rotation but was considered a long shot.

Going deep

Carlos Santana is batting only .198 for the spring, but he hit his fourth home run in exhibition season Friday, second most on the club to Shelley Duncan, who has five. He also is second on the team with nine RBI. Duncan has 15.

False alarm

Yes, the Indians probably were knocking on Bobby Abreu’s door Thursday night, trying to make a deal with the Los Angeles Angels. But for one reason or another, the transaction fell through.

“There’s nothing really to report,” General Manager Chris Antonetti said Friday, refusing to confirm that he had any interest in Abreu, a 38-year-old outfielder. “We continue to look for opportunities to improve our roster.”

Antonetti doesn’t deny that left field is a potential trouble spot, but he won’t get specific as to possible outside fixes.

“I’ve been in conversation with a lot of teams, which is typical for this time of year,” he said.

Sheldon Ocker can be reached at Read the Indians blog at Follow him on Twitter at and on Facebook at