Indians slip past Cubs, 1-0

STEVE DiMATTEO Associated Press Published:

GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) -- Travis Wood could be in position to pitch for the Chicago Cubs on opening day and if his first start at spring training is any indication, he's going to make it a tough decision for manager Rick Renteria.

Wood gave up one hit and struck out three in three scoreless innings Thursday as the Cubs fell to the Cleveland Indians 1-0.

"It was a good day today, pitches were working," Wood said. "I got away with a couple and (center field Albert) Almora made a great play but, you know, it was just nice to get out there."

Wood, who threw 200 innings last year and was an All-Star, had his first scheduled start rained out last Saturday and pitched a two-inning simulated game instead.

Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera drew a bases-loaded walk in the fourth to score Nick Swisher for the game's only run. As a whole, the Indians only had four hits.

Trevor Bauer, in the running to be the Indians' fifth starter, struck out four in two innings. Bauer, Aaron Harang, C.C. Lee and Scott Barnes combined to throw six scoreless innings with eight strikeouts and four walks.

STARTING TIME

Indians: Justin Masterson gave up three hits and a walk, but struck out three in three scoreless innings.

Masterson worked himself into a bases-loaded jam in the first by giving up one-out hits to Donnie Murphy and Anthony Rizzo while walking Nate Schierholtz. He got out of it by striking out Welington Castillo and getting Mike Olt on a flyball.

"I felt OK, nothing over the top," Masterson said. "Didn't really want to walk anybody, so make them hit the ball somehow. 'Here you go.' I was about to go underhand on a couple, just to make sure that they put it in play."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Indians: Utility infielder Jose Ramirez (left thumb surgery) made his Cactus League debut, taking over for Jason Kipnis at second. He flied out in his only at-bat in the eighth.

MORE RIZZO

Rizzo got two hits. In four games, the Cubs first baseman is 5 for 10 with two doubles and has scored three runs.

SANTANA'S SWITCH

In the third inning, Indians third baseman Carlos Santana dropped a line drive hit right to him, but was able to recover and throw out Emilio Bonifacio at second. Santana has been a catcher for most of his career.

"The hard thing about (spring training) games is, unless they hit seven or eight balls, you kind of go off of his work during the day and that part he's done great," Indians manager Terry Francona said.

SLIDING SAVE

In the first inning, Kipnis hit a ball into center field, but Almora ran it down for a sliding catch at the warning track.

NEXT UP

The Cubs and Indians will go at it again on Friday in Mesa. Carlos Carrasco is scheduled to start for the Indians and Edwin Jackson will pitch for Chicago.

GIANTS 3, REDS 2

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Tim Hudson extended his spring training scoreless streak to five innings, Pablo Sandoval homered to lead off a three-run fifth and the San Francisco Giants defeated the Cincinnati Reds 3-2 Thursday.

Hudson, who didn't allow a hit in two scoreless innings against Arizona in his first start as a Giant on March 2, again looked good in his comeback from a fractured ankle while with Atlanta in July.

He walked two and struck out three in three innings and helped himself defensively by starting a double play after he walked the leadoff man in the first.

Left-hander Tony Cingrani pitched three scoreless innings in his start for the Reds. Sandoval's homer and run-scoring hits by Juan Perez and Angel Pagan came against right-hander Chien-Ming Wang.

STARTING TIME

Reds: It appears that Cingrani has all but clinched a spot in the team's starting rotation.

The 24-year-old had another solid effort against the Giants, pitching three hitless scoreless innings while walking three and striking out three. In two starts, he has given up just one hit in five scoreless innings.

In his first full season in the major leagues in 2013, he pitched in 26 games (18 starts) and posted a 7-4 record with a 2.87 ERA.

"He has a stronger feel for his slider and his change-up and his change-up was excellent," said Reds first-year manager Bryan Price, who was the Reds pitching coach for four seasons before taking over the team. "He will be one of our five starters."

Giants: Hudson didn't appear as sharp as he did against Arizona, but said his push toward the regular season continues to be a work in progress.

"The last (third) inning today, I think I turned a corner and made pitches on both sides of the plate," said Hudson, who signed a two-year, $23 million free-agent deal in the offseason.

"It's been eight months since the surgery and it (ankle) feels good, all things considered. I didn't think about it (in the first inning) when I got the ground ball and threw (to second base). The double play was a pretty good test for it."

The Giants' five projected starters have combined for 20 innings, allowing just one run and 11 hits and three walks in seven games this spring.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Reds: Right-hander Mike Leake, scratched from Sunday's start due to an abdominal injury, is scheduled to take the mound against the Chicago White Sox on Friday. Right-hander Mat Latos (right elbow surgery in October and left knee surgery a few weeks ago), threw his first bullpen of the spring on Wednesday and is scheduled to throw another on Saturday.

Giants: Second baseman Marco Scutaro likely won't play in a game this weekend as first thought. Manager Bruce Bochy wants to be cautious as the veteran deals with back issues.

TIGERS POSTPONED

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Justin Verlander's first spring start was washed out by rain, so the Detroit ace threw in the batting cage -- and made up his own pitching line afterward.

"Ten up, 10 down, 10 strikeouts," Verlander said.

The spring training game between the Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies was canceled because of rain Thursday, leaving Verlander still without an appearance during spring training. The right-hander had surgery in January following a groin injury, but he was finally supposed to start when the weather intervened.

Rather than push Verlander back a day, the Tigers had him throw in the cage.

"You still get the work in," Verlander said. "I tried to take it like a game. The only thing I didn't do was long toss. I went through my pregame routine without any batters in there, did everything I normally do, and then had guys step in. So I tried to simulate as much as possible. ... I did the national anthem and everything."

The game was called a few minutes after the scheduled start, after steady rain had left puddles all around the warning track.

Verlander tried to replicate game conditions in the cage. He even had hitters stand in, although they didn't swing.

"I think I threw 45 (pitches) to hitters," Verlander said. "And I did my normal pregame routine, which is probably somewhere around 40 pitches."

Verlander went 13-12 with a 3.46 ERA last year, an ordinary season by his recent standards. He did pitch brilliantly in the playoffs, but now he's hopeful an unnoticed injury around his midsection was responsible for some of his struggles.

He says he'd like his mechanics to be closer to what they looked like in 2012 -- even last year's postseason isn't what he's hoping for. He said he noticed more tilt in his shoulders at a certain point in his motion last season.

"I threw like this for a year, so my body wants to fall back into that, naturally," Verlander said. "It's a whole year worth of muscle memory that I'm fighting right now."

Verlander said there was no radar gun in the cage, so it's hard to get a sense of where his velocity is.

"I say I'm fighting against a year's worth of muscle memory, but I also have eight, 10, 12 years before that of muscle memory that my body knows as well," he said. "So work through what I'm working through now, and then all of a sudden my body's going to be like, 'OK, yeah, that feels right. That's right. That's the way you used to throw.'"

Verlander says he figures he'll start Tuesday's game against Toronto on schedule.

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