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Notes: No solid rule on spring workload

Notes: No solid rule on workload

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WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- One Indians starter, Jake Westbrook, has complained about arm soreness related to his Spring Training bullpen sessions.

Another, C.C. Sabathia, is talking about how great he feels as a result of cutting back on the bullpens.

This would lead one to wonder whether a general change in procedure might be in order. But the Indians handle their hurlers' spring workloads on a case-by-case basis.

"It depends where you're at in your career," manager Eric Wedge said, "what kind of pitcher you are and your recent history."

Sabathia's recent history of 256 1/3 total innings pitched in '07 led to the Indians' decision to put him on a five-day rotation from the outset of the Grapefruit League season, thereby eliminating a couple bullpens between starts. Normally, Indians starters work every fourth day in the early going, as they build their pitch counts up.

"My arm feels a lot better [than usual]," Sabathia said after pitching three perfect innings against the Astros on Thursday. "Usually, you have a lot of aches and pains. It's a lot of throwing, and my arm usually comes up a little sore."

General arm soreness is what led to Westbrook's delayed start to the spring season. His first Grapefruit League outing was pushed back several days to give his arm a break after tossing bullpens every other day in the second half of February.

"If I was younger and my arm felt good, I'd want to be out there throwing every day," said the 30-year-old Westbrook. "I could see how throwing every other day would be beneficial to building your strength up, but to get on a five-day routine [sooner] would be nice. It would be beneficial for me. I'm sure it's something we'll address next year."

Again, though, different pitchers -- especially pitchers of different ages -- tolerate Spring Training workloads in different ways. So no hard and fast rules are expected. But pitching coach Carl Willis said he is always open to new ideas.

"We're not going to be stubborn," Willis said. "We have to make adjustments year to year, just like we ask our players to make adjustments."

Rough one: As Cliff Lee watched the fourth inning of Friday's game against the Mets on a television in the clubhouse, ESPN flashed a projected Tribe rotation that included Aaron Laffey, not Lee.

And that wasn't the only rough moment for Lee on this day, in which he gave up a pair of runs on three hits with two walks in just two-thirds of an inning. He had been scheduled to work two innings.

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"For the most part, I couldn't get my curveball and slider over the plate," said Lee, who is battling Laffey and Jeremy Sowers for the fifth starting spot. "I was trying to locate my fastball, and I did a decent job of that."

To be fair, home-plate umpire Mark Wegner enforced a tight strike zone. When Lee walked Robinson Cancel with the bases loaded, the decisive pitch might have actually been a strike.

"When I put it where I wanted it, it was a ball," said Lee, who battled a sinus infection last week. "I'm still working on locating my pitches."

Chain of Leaks and Breaks: Not sold on the idea that the Indians need a new Spring Training facility?

Well, on Friday alone, fans at 42-year-old Chain of Lakes Park were treated to a malfunctioning scoreboard and a water-pipe burst at a concession stand.

Adhering to the belief that the final score is the only stat that matters in the end, the only information the scoreboard was able to display was the score between the Indians and Mets.

And then, to add some comic relief to a slow-moving ballgame, the pipe burst at a concession stand near the Indians' bullpen had fans and relievers alike looking on and laughing as workers frantically tried to fix the problem.

In a related matter, the Indians move into their new spring home in Goodyear, Ariz., next year.

Signed, sealed, delivered: The six remaining unsigned members of the Tribe's 40-man roster have agreed to terms for '08.

Outfielders Shin-Soo Choo and Ben Francisco, right-handers Jensen Lewis and Tom Mastny, left-hander Juan Lara and catcher Kelly Shoppach were the last to sign in advance of Tuesday's deadline.

Lara was critically injured in a car accident in the Dominican Republic over the winter, putting his baseball career in great jeopardy. The Indians, however, will leave Lara, who is rehabbing from surgery in Cleveland, on their 40-man roster until that spot is needed. Even then, they will continue to ensure he is taken care of financially.

Dellucci scratched: While David Dellucci is completely healed from the hamstring tear he suffered last season, the Indians still want to be cautious with how they use him.

For that reason, Dellucci was scratched from Friday's lineup because of soft grounds. It poured rain overnight in Winter Haven, so left field wasn't in the best of conditions. Brad Snyder replaced Dellucci in left.

Battling the bug: Wedge, fighting off a particularly nasty case of the "Winter Haven funk" that has affected several players this spring, left the Chain of Lakes facility in the middle of Friday's game. Wedge was feeling sick as a dog all day.

Showalter shows up: Former Major League manager Buck Showalter, who worked as a senior advisor for the Indians last year, sat with general manager Mark Shapiro for some of Friday's game.

Showalter is no longer working for the Tribe. He is slated to do some work as an analyst for ESPN this season.

Up next: Fausto Carmona said he was guilty of overthrowing after getting knocked around in his first spring start against the Blue Jays. He'll look to correct the matter Saturday, when he gets the 1:05 p.m. ET start against the Phillies at Chain of Lakes Park. Left-hander Jaime Moyer will start for Philadelphia. Laffey, Jensen Lewis, Rafael Perez, Ed Mujica, Rick Bauer and Matt Ginter will also be available to pitch for the Tribe.

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

{"content":["spring_training" ] }
{"content":["spring_training" ] }
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