Marcum hopes to stay with Tribe, willing to consider Triple-A

Righty vying for rotation spot after not pitching in bigs in 2014

Marcum hopes to stay with Tribe, willing to consider Triple-A

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- In the coming weeks, the Indians will have a decision to make regarding Shaun Marcum's place on the rotation's depth chart. The veteran pitcher -- currently fighting for a spot with the club as a non-roster invitee -- might be faced with a tough decision of his own.

If Marcum does not figure into the Indians' Opening Day plans, he has an opt-out clause in his contract at the end of camp that would allow him to elect free agency. The other option for Marcum would be to accept an assignment to Triple-A Columbus, giving Cleveland an experienced arm at the ready.

"That's something I'll definitely have to talk over with my agent to see what's going on," Marcum said. "We'll see what happens when we get there. This is definitely a first-class organization -- probably one of the best organizations I've been in. It's something I'd definitely consider."

That is something the Indians, who have six pitchers vying for two vacancies in the rotation, like to hear at this point in camp.

"To have a guy down there in Triple-A pitching every fifth day," pitching coach Mickey Callaway said, "a guy that we know is going to come up and he's probably going to give you some pretty good innings, because he knows how to pitch, that'd be very comforting."

The 33-year-old Marcum is not ready to accept that possibility, though. With his three-inning outing against the Royals on Monday, the right-hander has now logged seven innings in Cactus League play with two strikeouts, no walks and one run allowed. More important than his statistics, however, has been his ability to bounce back from his outings.

Marcum missed most of last year while continuing a long comeback from thoracic outlet syndrome, which has hindered him since his disastrous 2013 season (1-10 with a 5.29 ERA) with the Mets. The righty worked in only 17 1/3 innings in the Minors for Cleveland last season, but he re-signed with the team on a Minor League contract over the winter.

"The main thing for me is I want to pitch for these guys," said Marcum, who went 54-32 with a 3.67 ERA with the Blue Jays and Brewers over the 2007-12 seasons. "They gave me an opportunity last year to come in and do my rehab, and I kind of want to show them that I can pitch with these guys and get people out in the big leagues still.

"I feel like I've still got a lot left in my arm. I definitely don't want to end my career how it went in New York. I want to go out there and compete and help these guys get back to the playoffs."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for 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.