CLEVELAND -- The Indians continue to search for as many contingency plans as possible. Cleveland's latest attempt to strengthen its depth comes in the form of experienced starting pitcher Jon Garland.
On Monday, the Indians and Garland reportedly were working on a Minor League contract that would include an invitation to attend Spring Training with the big league club. The deal would be pending a physical, which would likely be held later this week at the team's Spring Training site in Goodyear, Ariz. The Indians have not confirmed the reports.
Garland, who is coming off an injury-shortened 2011 campaign, would provide the Indians with a veteran arm for a rotation that is beset with question marks. Given the uncertain status of the pitcher known to date as Fausto Carmona, depth is a must for the Tribe's starting staff.
Cleveland's pitchers and catchers report to Arizona for Spring Training on Feb. 20 with physicals scheduled for the following day. The team's first workout will be held on Feb. 22 and the Tribe's position players are scheduled to report on Feb. 23. The first full-squad workout is slated for Feb. 25.
The Garland talks -- reported first by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports -- act as a potential low-risk, high-reward move for Cleveland. While the starter is coming off a shoulder injury, his 2,083 1/3 innings and 132 wins since 2000 rank 12th and 16th, respectively, among all Major League pitchers.
As things currently stand, the four pitchers who represent virtual locks to make the Tribe's rotation include Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Derek Lowe and Josh Tomlin. The fifth spot will likely come down to one of Kevin Slowey, Jeanmar Gomez, Dave Huff or Zach McAllister this spring.
Carmona, whose name is believed to actually be Roberto (Heredia) Hernandez, is dealing with legal and visa woes in his native Dominican Republic. He was arrested last month on charges of using a false identity and the Indians have placed the pitcher on Major League Baseball's restricted list.
It is unclear when Carmona might be able to rejoin the Indians, though he will not receive any of his $7 million salary for 2012 until he is back in the United States and activated by Cleveland. Carmona might also face a suspension from Major League Baseball when and if he does return to the Indians.
Beyond the uncertainty surrounding Carmona, it is also unclear how Jimenez and Lowe will bounce back after subpar 2011 showings. Slowey also endured a rough season last year and Tomlin is making his way back from a right elbow injury. Under the circumstances, adding rotation depth was a goal for the Tribe this winter.
Garland, 32, went 1-5 with a 4.33 ERA in nine outings with the Dodgers last year before undergoing a season-ending shoulder surgery in July. His recovery period was expected to last at least six months, making him a comeback candidate for Cleveland.
Over the course of 12 seasons in the Major Leagues, Garland has had stints with the White Sox, Angels, D-backs, Padres and Dodgers. He is 132-119 overall with a 4.32 ERA across 353 games in the big leagues. Garland has won at least 12 games in a season seven times and he has topped 190 innings nine times.