GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians reduced their spring roster by five players on Sunday morning, announcing that they optioned outfielder Ezequiel Carrera, infielder Juan Diaz and right-hander Corey Kluber to Triple-A Columbus. They also re-assigned righty Hector Ambriz and catcher Michel Hernandez to Minor League camp.
There are currently 49 players remaining in Major League spring training camp (32 on the 40-man roster, 17 non-roster invitees).
"Hector Ambriz ... we just wanted to see how healthy he was after the [Oct. 2010 reconstructive elbow] surgery [and subsequent season on the sidelines], and he threw the ball well in camp," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "Ezequiel, he's got to continue to work on his game, and we want to make sure he gets enough at-bats before the Minor League season starts. With Corey Kluber, we were running out of innings, and he needs to go down there and continue to get stretched out to go to Triple-A."
Acta also saw promise in Diaz, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound 23-year-old the Indians acquired, along with Carrera, in the Russell Branyan trade with the Seattle Mariners in 2010.
"Very good defensively," Acta said. "His actions are good, and he shows good range for a guy of his size. Obviously he's got a plus arm from short. He's got some work to do offensively, and we know that, and that was the message to him -- to go down there and continue to work on the consistency of his swing, because we are not very deep right now at that position, so he's got a legit opportunity here down the road."
Blustery weather doesn't help Tomlin
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The odds were against Josh Tomlin from the beginning.
Walking up to Surprise Stadium on Sunday afternoon, one couldn't help but notice the 18-mph winds from the south that were whipping the flags beyond the outfield fences and lowering the desert temperature to a brisk 52 degrees. Some fans wore ski hats. By the end of the game, the distant mountains were covered with snow.
This unseasonable weather, coupled with Tomlin's strike-throwing tendencies, added up to another unsightly outing for the right-hander, who was such a pleasant surprise for manager Manny Acta in 2011, when Tomlin went 12-7 with a 4.25 ERA.
Tomlin gave up six runs on 10 hits in four innings, striking out two. He threw 66 pitches, 46 of them strikes. So far this spring, he's given up 14 earned runs on 26 hits in 12 innings for an ERA of 10.50. Still, Acta said he could understand the situation given the conditions in which Tomlin had to work.
"He's not in a do-or-die type of situation," Acta said. "He's in our rotation. We knew that it was going to be a tough day because he's not a strikeout pitcher, they can swing the bat, and the wind was blowing out.
"But he threw some good pitches. Unfortunately nothing was in between. It was either over the outfielder's head or in front of them. They hit like four bloopers off of him, too."
Hafner heating up, looking healthy
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Designated hitter Travis Hafner is finding a groove at the plate, and it's coming at the right time, as far as Indians manager Manny Acta is concerned.
Hafner has gone 8-for-15 over his past five games to raise his spring average from .100 to .360. He's added a homer, two doubles and two RBIs. Most important for the Indians is the fact that Hafner, who has been plagued by various injuries throughout the past four seasons, looks healthy again.
"The last couple of games, he's been swinging the bat real good," Acta said. "That's what you look for. ... At times when you don't score that many runs [as a team], you don't go crazy over it because you only have three or four guys that are going to be in your lineup just about every day. So I'm very encouraged by the way he's swinging the bat right now."
First baseman Casey Kotchman returned to the lineup on Sunday for the first time since March 9, hit a sharp single in his first at-bat, and finished the day 1-for-2 before departing after three innings for precautionary reasons. He also made a nice catch to end the third inning, picking off a well-hit line drive by Mike Moustakas to complete an unassisted double play.
Closer Chris Perez (strained left side) had a bullpen session Sunday in which he threw fastballs and sliders, and Indians manager Manny Acta said it was a rousing success. "Very good," Acta said. "We were very encouraged by it. He was very happy. He was able to throw all his pitches, and we're all happy about it. He's going to, in a couple of days, throw to hitters. So we're very encouraged by it. That was the highlight of the day."
Right-handers Jeanmar Gomez and Derek Lowe have been flip-flopped for Monday's games. Gomez will start the 'A' game vs. the Dodgers at Goodyear Stadium at 4:05 p.m. ET, and Lowe will start the 'B' game vs. the Cubs. That will be played on Field 1 at the Indians complex in Goodyear at 1:05 p.m. ET. Justin Masterson will start a Minor League game on Wednesday vs. the Dodgers.
Rehabbing relievers Rafael Perez (left shoulder soreness) and Robinson Tejeda (strained right calf) had their scheduled Minor League appearances postponed because of early morning rain but are on tap for one inning apiece in a Minor League game on Monday.