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03/26/09 4:10 PM ET

Healthy Reyes happy to be in rotation

Right-hander will get extra rest as Indians' fifth starting pitcher

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Whether it's the fourth spot or the fifth spot doesn't matter to Anthony Reyes. He's just happy to be in the Indians' rotation.

Reyes was always expected to claim a job in the rotation, provided he proved he had fully recovered from the right elbow soreness that caused the Indians to shut him down in early September last year.

He's done that and more. Reyes has a 0.75 ERA in four Cactus League appearances, including two starts. He'll start a Minor League game Friday.

It wasn't expected that Reyes would be slotted in at No. 5, but the move makes sense with left-hander Scott Lewis winning the rotation's other vacancy. The Indians want to separate Lewis from staff ace Cliff Lee to break up the left-handers. And having Reyes in the No. 5 spot, where he'll no doubt occasionally get skipped or pushed back, gives the Indians a chance to monitor his workload and protect his elbow.

Reyes said he has no problems with that.

"I feel like it's a judgment call, and I'm excited that they care about me," Reyes said. "I feel good enough to pitch, but it's nice that they care about my arm."

Reyes said he has had absolutely no issues with the elbow this spring as a result of the changes he made in his mechanics. After resting and rehabbing through September, he worked with USC pitching coach Tom House over the winter to tweak his delivery and put less stress on the elbow.

"I got into some bad mechanics the last few years and that wore me down," Reyes said. "When I worked with Tom, I solidified my mechanics."

The 27-year-old Reyes went 2-1 with a 1.83 ERA in six starts for the Tribe in August and September last season, after he was acquired in a July trade with the Cardinals.

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