Notes: Westbrook feels generally sore

Notes: Westbrook feels generally sore

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- "General soreness" is a vague term.

Right-hander Jake Westbrook's status these days, as a result of the general soreness in his throwing arm, is just as fuzzy.

Westbrook threw a 45-pitch bullpen session on Thursday morning and didn't appear to have any troubles. But the Indians want to see how he feels on Friday before saying for sure when he'll pitch again.

For now, Westbrook, who was scratched from a previously scheduled start in Thursday's contest against the Astros, is tentatively slated to start Sunday's Grapefruit League game against the Tigers.

"Not going full speed [Thursday] is going to help out," Westbrook said. "I did [the bullpen] at my pace. If I was in a game, I might have a tendency to try to do too much."

It is believed the soreness Westbrook is feeling is around his elbow, though the Indians will only fall back on that "general" terminology. Westbrook said his arm feels sore around this time every spring and he didn't want to push it.

"I'm used to it," he said. "It's from throwing bullpens every other day. I'm just not a big fan of that. [The soreness] usually lasts until the middle of Spring Training. Once I get loosened up and get going, it's fine."

Thursday marked the first time since 2003 that Westbrook didn't start the Indians' Grapefruit League opener. But he doesn't expect this to be a lingering issue in camp.

"I feel strong about being able to throw Sunday," he said.

Getting to know you: Manager Eric Wedge had said he would use the early Grapefruit League games to get as much playing time as possible for Minor Leaguers and six-year Minor League free agents -- a group that includes non-roster invitee Danny Sandoval.

Sandoval, a switch-hitting utility infielder who has played in the White Sox, Rockies and Phillies organizations, was in Thursday's starting lineup at shortstop, and he also saw time at second base. He made the most of the opportunity, launching a sixth-inning solo homer off the Astros' Geoff Geary.

"I came up as a shortstop, but I can play all over," said Sandoval, who has a .278 career average in the Minors. "I want to be able to show these guys I can play in the big leagues. I'll be ready to help the team, and I'll play hard."

Exhibition opener: Wedge stepped off the field after Thursday's Grapefruit opener and sighed.

"I forgot how long these games are," he said with a laugh.

But Wedge does enjoy the chance to give playing time to some lesser-known players -- some of whom might contribute over the course of the season.

"I like watching the young guys play and giving opportunities to the six-year free agents," he said. "Don't get me wrong. We're trying to get our big league club ready. But as we've seen, it's not just about Opening Day. A lot of things can happen in six months."

One of each: Infielder Jamey Carroll and his wife, Kim, have two bundles of joy in their lives.

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Kim gave birth to twins -- a boy and a girl -- on Wednesday night in Viera, Fla. Mackenzie Joyce weighed in at 5 pounds, 9 ounces, and Cole Patrick was 6 pounds, 15 ounces.

The twins are the first children in the Carroll family. Carroll will rejoin the team in a few days.

Sign here: The Indians announced the signing of 13 players to contracts for the '08 season.

Infielders Mike Aubrey, Josh Barfield, Asdrubal Cabrera and Andy Marte, right-handers Fausto Carmona, Adam Miller and Ed Mujica, left-handers Scott Lewis, Rafael Perez, Tony Sipp and Jeremy Sowers, outfielder Franklin Gutierrez and catcher Wyatt Toregas all agreed to terms.

The MLB deadline to have the entire 40-man roster under contract is March 11. The Indians still have 11 non-arbitration-eligible players unsigned.

Pen pals: When the Tribe's media guides arrived on Wednesday, pitching coach Carl Willis, a North Carolina Tar Heels fan, was aghast to see mention in his bio about his affinity for Thad Matta and the Ohio State Buckeyes. The media relations department put that tidbit in his bio as a gag.

The latest development is that Matta actually e-mailed Willis with a message thanking him for his support.

"I'm at a loss for words," Willis said.

Media relations director Bart Swain, who arranged for Matta to get in touch with Willis, said Willis spent 20 minutes on the Buckeyes' Web site, trying to determine if the e-mail was actually sent from Matta's account.

Idol chatter: Ryan Garko is a devoted "American Idol" viewer. Some might even call him an expert. And he has high praise for 17-year-old contestant David Archuleta.

"He's better than Kelly Clarkson," Garko said, "and she was the best."

Archuleta sang John Lennon's "Imagine" in his last performance.

"He sounded better than John Lennon," Garko claimed. "You've got to download it."

So if you're wondering what ballplayers do in their free time while in the dog days of Spring Training, well, there's your answer.

On deck: The Indians and Astros are getting well-acquainted with each other. They'll meet up again at 1:05 p.m. ET on Friday in nearby Kissimmee, Fla. The Tribe will give the starting nod to right-hander Paul Byrd, but the attention-grabber will no doubt be the Indians debut of Japanese import Masa Kobayashi, who is scheduled to throw one inning in the game.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.