GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Mitch Talbot has won a spot in Cleveland's rotation.
Manager Manny Acta announced his decision following the Indians' 5-4 win over the Colorado Rockies on Friday.Jake Westbrook, slated to start for Cleveland on opening day, walked five over four-plus innings and Chris Perez, filling in for injured closer Kerry Wood, issued a four-pitch walk in the ninth before striking out the side for the save."Talbot is in the rotation and Aaron Laffey will be part of our bullpen," Acta said. "With Kerry not here, we needed somebody else with bullpen experience. David Huff and Carlos Carrasco are battling for the final rotation spot."Wood is out six to eight weeks with a muscle strain beneath his right shoulder.Jeff Francis worked 4 1/3 innings for Colorado, yielding four runs and four hits. The left-hander missed all of 2009 rehabbing from shoulder surgery.Talbot, acquired from Tampa Bay in December in a trade for catcher Kelly Shoppach, is 1-0 with a 0.79 ERA in four outings, including two starts."Mitch came to camp ready and has shown what he can do," Acta said.Acta was not as pleased with his four pitchers issuing 10 walks."I want to see Chris Perez be that guy to close," he said, "but I don't want to see him walking the first man on four pitches."Jake's command was very poor and he put a lot of guys on base, but he came out of it healthy and that's good."Westbrook was charged with two runs and seven hits. He left with a 3-1 lead and the bases loaded. Saul Rivera got out of the jam, allowing one run.Westbrook is eager to make his opening-day assignment -- which will be his first game for Cleveland since May 28, 2008. The right-hander spent all of 2009 recovering from Tommy John surgery."When they told me I needed surgery, I knew it would be a long time -- but not this long," Westbrook said. "I felt strong. I feel real close to where I want to be."Westbrook will use his remaining spring start Wednesday to try to refine his control."I was a little all over the place today and I don't like that," he said. "I've got to throw strikes."Francis felt the same way after an erratic outing."I was up and down, did some good things, but not enough," he said. "Mentally, I am ready. I feel like I'm right there, but rushing things a bit with my body. That's always been a problem, trying to stay back. I get a little too aggressive."Rockies reliever Rafael Betancourt worked one scoreless inning, striking out two in his second spring outing. The right-hander had an inflamed shoulder early in camp."I felt much better," said Betancourt, acquired from the Indians in July. "I was able to throw strikes on the corners. Last time, I was just trying to throw the ball over the plate."Betancourt said he has learned to not pitch too much prior to spring training."I overdid it, working out for a month before camp and that caused the problem," he said. "I'm fine now. They pitch me Monday, Wednesday and Friday and I'll be fine, ready for the season."Colorado tied it in the seventh on Ryan Spilborghs' RBI single. In the bottom half, a balk by Manny Corpas put the go-ahead run on second base and Trevor Crowe delivered an RBI single.
OF Shin-Soo Choo had three RBIs for Cleveland. ... OF Jay Payton had three hits and 3B Melvin Mora went 2 for 2 with two walks for the Rockies. ... Payton was also picked off twice. ... Rockies LHP Joe Beimel, signed Tuesday, will pitch in a minor league game on Saturday.