Indians look to define Laffey's role

Indians look to define Laffey's role

Indians look to define Laffey's role
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians want to avoid moving Aaron Laffey back and forth between the rotation and bullpen this season. That is an approach that the left-hander appreciates.

"That's something I haven't had in a couple years," Laffey said. "That consistency in knowing you're going to start the year in one position, and you're going to stay there, I haven't had that yet."

Laffey wanted to make one thing clear, though.

"It doesn't matter what I do," Laffey said. "I'm just here to perform, just take the ball and pitch."

Laffey, 25, is currently in the mix for the Indians' lone vacancy at the back end of the rotation. Manager Manny Acta has made known, however, that the club will not wait until the end Spring Training to decide whether Laffey is a better fit as a starter or long reliever.

As things currently stand, Laffey's main competitors for the fifth starting job are Josh Tomlin, Jeanmar Gomez and David Huff. Anthony Reyes is also a candidate, but his chances appear to be diminished in light of his current battle with some mild right elbow soreness.

Laffey made his first Cactus League appearance of the spring on Sunday, and limited the Reds to one hit in one shutout inning of work.

Laffey, who is 17-19 with a 4.35 ERA in 49 career starts in the Majors, noted that he prepared himself physically and mentally as a starter over the offseason. As a reliever, he has fashioned a 4.81 ERA in 30 career appearances. If it comes down to it, Laffey is willing to accept a long-relief job, especially knowing that the Indians no longer plan on shuffling him between roles.

"Last year was just kind of one of those things," Laffey said, "where I kind of never fully could commit to one, just because I started the year as a reliever and I knew at some point I could be a starter again. Just from that standpoint, [it will be better] now that I know, once the season starts, that's where I'm going to be."