DeSclafani, Iglesias make first pitches for Reds rotation

Pair among arms vying for two spots on starting staff

DeSclafani, Iglesias make first pitches for Reds rotation

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians and Reds had their rotation competitions on display on Wednesday afternoon, when the Indians picked up a 4-2 Cactus League victory in the second game in as many days between the clubs at Goodyear Ballpark.

For Cleveland, right-hander Josh Tomlin and lefty T.J. House each logged two innings in the race for the lone vacancy in the starting staff. Tomlin, House, Zach McAllister and Danny Salazar represent the four main candidates for the only opening in the Tribe's rotation.

"This is second nature to me now," Tomlin said of competing for a job in Spring Training. "It's fun. I think it's good for the guys that are competing for that job. You've got to be game ready from Day 1 and I kind of like that. That competitive nature gets you ready for the season pretty early."

In the first inning, Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton led things off by drilling a 2-2 offering from Tomlin to deep right-center field for a home run.

Hamilton's leadoff shot

Tomlin admittedly fell out of the strike zone early in his outing, in which he allowed three extra-base hits (including an RBI double to Chris Dominguez) to the first four batters he faced. After that, though, the righty settled down, retired his final five hitters in order and finished with some extra pitches in the bullpen.

"Josh got behind in the first inning and left a couple balls up that he paid for," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "But, after that, everybody came in, threw strikes and worked ahead for the most part. The scoreboard reflects that."

House followed Tomlin's performance with two shutout innings, facing the minimum and ending with a pair of strikeouts for Cleveland.

"He was good -- really good," Francona said of House. "He continues to pitch down with a lot of movement. He's going to get a ton of ground balls, but he also gets some swing-and-miss, because he gets below their barrel so much."

Reds pitcher Anthony DeSclafani, who was one of the players acquired from the Marlins in the December trade that sent Mat Latos to Miami, is a top contender for one of the two jobs available in Cincinnati's rotation. The right-hander was charged with one unearned run on two hits in his two innings against the Indians, who benefited from a second-inning error by Dominguez at first base.

Indians outfield prospect Carlos Moncrief (four hits on the day) connected for a two-out double, advanced to third on Dominguez's error and scored on a sacrifice fly by Roberto Perez.

"I felt really good. I felt like everything was working," DeSclafani said. "[It was] the same plan as always, just attack hitters. It feels good to get the first one out of the way."

Tyler Holt added an RBI single for the Indians off Reds pitcher David Holmberg in the sixth inning. Top Indians prospect Francisco Lindor added two hits in his Cactus League debut and also made a leaping catch at shortstop to rob Reds second baseman Kristopher Negron of a hit in the second inning.

"It looks like he plays the game the right way," Tomlin said of Lindor. "He goes about his business the right way. He's a fun player to watch. I haven't seen him play that much, but I think he handles himself well and does a good job."

Francona was also pleased with Lindor's performance.

"I thought he was fine," Francona said. "He made the plays. He hit the ball up the middle. He hustled on the bases, which is good."

Raisel Iglesias, who is also vying for a spot in the Reds rotation, worked the bottom of the eighth inning and yielded a pair of unearned runs. With runners on first and second and two outs, a fielding error by third baseman Neftali Soto allowed Moncrief to score to put the Tribe up for good, 3-2. Jake Lowery later crossed the plate for the Indians courtesy of a wild picth.

Up next for Reds: Ace Johnny Cueto, a 20-game winner last season and expected Opening Day starter, will make his spring debut when the Reds play the Indians once again at 3:05 p.m. ET on Thursday. Closer Aroldis Chapman is expected to see action, as will free agent signing Burke Badenhop.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.