GOODYEAR, Ariz. — The Indians have their fifth starter.
Carlos Carrasco earned the final spot in the starting rotation.
The Indians said Wednesday that Carrasco will start April 5 against Minnesota.
Cleveland chose Carrasco over Josh Tomlin. Carrasco joins Justin Masterson, Corey Kluber, Zach McAllister and Danny Salazar in the rotation.
The 27-year-old Carrasco made five trips to Cleveland in 2013, bouncing between Triple-A Columbus and the majors. The right-hander was 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA, but played a key role out of the bullpen during the Indians’ stretch run to a playoff spot.
“There were numerous reasons, but it was difficult,” manager Terry Francona said. “We were open about saying we really wanted to see Carlos pitch. We can’t build our team just for Opening Day. Josh will help us at some point.”
Tomlin is recovering from elbow reconstruction surgery and has minor league options. The Indians want him to get consistent work in the minors, rather than working out of the bullpen.
“We thought about putting Josh in the bullpen, but that wouldn’t be fair to him,” general manager Chris Antonetti said. “There is not a lot of development with Josh. He just needs consistent work. There are no set innings for him but we will monitor him, looking for signs of fatigue. We talked to him about his workload issues. He was very professional when we told him.”
Aaron Harang and Trevor Bauer were also competing for the rotation spot.
Harang was released and signed with the Atlanta Braves. Bauer was optioned to Columbus on Monday.
The Indians will carry 13 pitchers, eight in the bullpen.
Scott Atchison got a spot in the bullpen as a non-roster player. Blake Wood was told he’d won a place, as well.
“Scott has the ability to pick up innings or get big outs when you need them,” Francona said. “Blake’s stuff is off the charts. He had a really good camp.
“We asked him to get better at holding runners. He not only got better, he exceeded our expectations. Now he is quick to the plate and will be tough to run on.”
Brantley stays hot
Michael Brantley and Jason Kipnis drove in two runs apiece to send the Cleveland Indians to their 18th win of the spring, 10-2 over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday.
Brantley tripled, singled and walked to increase his spring average to .522.
“He is such a good hitter,” manager Terry Francona said. “Regardless of what he does Opening Day. I can see him getting better as he learns the league.”
Kipnis doubled and singled. Lonnie Chisenhall hit his third home run off Brewers starter Yovanni Gallardo. Nick Swisher went deep against Francisco Rodriguez.
The Brewers managed three singles against Justin Masterson, who had his final spring start before opening the season on the mound in Oakland.
“I don’t know what the numbers are but Masty came in prepared to haul a lot of innings,” Francona said.
Carlos Gomez singled and robbed catcher Luke Carlin of an extra-base hit, making a leaping catch against the center-field wall.
Brewers minor leaguer Mitch Haniger hit his second home run off Vinnie Pestano.
Masterson pitched 5⅔ innings, allowing one run on three singles and two walks. He struck out five.
“We’re as ready as you can be,” Masterson said. “You never know until you get there but we’re having fun. I hope we can carry it over into Game One. I’m always working on stuff. I may have used pitch sequences differently. I like to keep a few things in my back pocket.”
The Indians’ 25-man roster is set. Jason Giambi will be added to the 40-man roster and start the season on the disabled list. He was hit by a pitch by Edwin Jackson of the Cubs on March 7. The Indians will put Giambi on the disabled list formally on Sunday.
Danny Salazar will make the first home start of the season against Minnesota on April 4. Salazar started spring as the fifth starter as he was brought along slowly by the Indians.
“It just happened to line up that way,” Francona said. “We would have had to move two guys around. That didn’t make sense to me.”
“I was surprised,” said Salazar, who also pitched the final game at Progressive Field last year in the wild-card loss to Tampa Bay. “It is exciting. I’m ready for it. I started behind the other pitchers so I thought I was fifth until this morning. It will be exciting like the playoff game, just a little less pressure.”