03/06/12 6:12 PM ET
Duncan states case with another blast
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
Duncan, who served as Cleveland's designated hitter in the Cactus League contest Tuesday, likely figures into the Tribe's Opening Day plans, but he is trying to use this spring to win the starting role in left field. Against Kansas City (2-1), Duncan belted his second home run of the spring for the Indians (1-2).
"He's picking up right where he left off last year, so it was nice to see him again contribute," manager Manny Acta said. "We know that he's a bat that at any moment can pop one out. He's been valuable -- very valuable -- for us."
In the third inning, Duncan launched a pitch from Royals pitcher Zach Miner to deep left field for a three-run homer that pushed the Tribe to a 3-0 lead. The blast scored both Ezequiel Carrera and Jose Lopez, who reached on an infield single and a hit-by-pitch, respectively.
Indians starter Kevin Slowey, who made his spring debut for his new team, turned in a pair of scoreless innings against the Royals. Slowey scattered four hits, but limited the damage with five flyouts and one groundout. Slowey -- in the running for Cleveland's lone rotation vacancy -- finished with 37 pitches, including 23 for strikes.
Kansas City's Will Smith started against Cleveland and allowed no runs on two hits.
The Royals broke through for two runs in the fourth inning against Indians reliever Chris Ray, who is competing for a bullpen job. KC catcher Brayan Pena led off with a double and later crossed the plate when shortstop Irving Falu delivered a two-run home run off Ray to cut Cleveland's lead down to 3-2.
Royals up next: Left-hander Jonathan Sanchez, heralded as joining Luke Hochevar and Bruce Chen as the top three in the rotation, will be unveiled in a 2:05 p.m. CT game on Wednesday against the Cubs at Surprise Stadium. Sanchez was acquired from the Giants in exchange for outfielder Melky Cabrera. The Royals worked Sanchez in slowly during camp because he missed much of last season with biceps and ankle ailments. Another lefty, Everett Teaford, is scheduled to follow him.
Indians up next: Left-hander David Huff is slated to make his second start of the spring when the Indians take on the D-backs at 3:10 p.m. ET on Wednesday at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, Ariz. Sidearmer Joe Smith is also scheduled to pitch for the Tribe, along with bullpen candidates Frank Herrmann and Hector Ambriz.