3/10/2013 8:14 P.M. ET
Myers strong through three in loss to Rangers
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- There were bound to be some rough patches during Brett Myers' spring transition back to a rotation after spending the past year as a reliever. On Sunday afternoon, the Indians starter hit a wall as his pitch count climbed.
The Rangers broke through for five runs against Myers in the fourth inning, helping pave the way for a 7-6 victory over the Indians at Goodyear Ballpark. Cleveland's projected third starter admitted to feeling a bit fatigued as his outing progressed.
"I felt great. I felt good," Myers said of his first three innings. "My arm got a little fatigued out there in the last inning. It was dragging and pitches weren't as crisp. It's something to build on. That's all I'm trying to do, build up my arm strength to be able to throw 70 pitches. That's first time I've thrown 70 pitches in a while. Hopefully next time it'll be better."
"He got a little tired, and he left some pitches up," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Myers. "Before that, I thought tempo, command of the strike zone, throwing his breaking ball for strikes -- I thought it was really a positive day."
Myers, who worked 70 games as a late-inning reliever last season between stints with the Astros and White Sox, has not thrown more than 70 pitches in a game since logging 92 against St. Louis on Sept. 28, 2011. Last spring, Houston prepped Myers as a reliever after the right-hander had spent the previous four years as a starter.
"You get into that last inning, it'll happen," Francona said. "That's kind of why we have spring. You see it with just about everybody. He just had a long last inning. He couldn't quite get that last out. But for 3 2/3 innings, it was [good]."
Myers was not about to use his move back to a rotation as an excuse for Sunday's fourth-inning struggles.
"It's not any different than what I've prepared for my whole career," he said. "I just got a little fatigued. My body felt fine. Legs, everything, was great. My conditioning is fine. My arm just needs to catch up, and I've got four more starts or so. I'll be ready."
After being blanked by Myers for the first three innings, Texas scored five runs with two outs in the fourth. Jeff Baker and Leonys Martin got the Rangers going with back-to-back RBI doubles, and Craig Gentry followed with a two-run home run. Tribe catcher Yan Gomes then misplaced a popup for an error, giving Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler another chance to come through.
Kinsler singled and Jurickson Profar followed with a base hit that scored the second baseman to push the Indians behind, 5-2. Myers was charged with five runs (four earned) on seven hits, and had five strikeouts and two walks in 3 2/3 innings.
Rangers starter Robbie Ross ran into issues as well. In 2 2/3 innings, Ross surrendered two runs on three hits with three walks and two strikeouts. After Ross issued consecutive walks to Ryan Raburn and Ezequiel Carrera in the second inning, Cleveland shortstop Luis Hernandez delivered a two-run double.
"It was a tough one," Ross said. "I would have liked to have finished out the inning and finish up the game plan: four innings and 60 pitches. My bullpen went great, it was awesome. But I went out and didn't get it done. You're not always going to have your best stuff but you've got to battle through it."
Drew Stubbs later contributed a run-scoring triple for the Indians.
Cleveland right-hander Carlos Carrasco, who is competing for the fifth spot in the rotation, spotted the Rangers two runs in the sixth inning to put the Indians behind, 7-5. Carrasco ended the afternoon with two runs allowed on four hits, finishing with two strikeouts and two walks in four innings.
"Good stuff," Francona said of Carrasco. "He's still battling some consistency, which I think is realistic from the lack of competing [in 2012]. But there's so much to like. He's just got to be a little more consistent, which is coming."
Up next for Indians: With the news that Zach McAllister has earned the No. 4 job in Cleveland's rotation, the spring competition is down to the fifth spot. Non-roster starting candidates Scott Kazmir and Daisuke Matsuzaka -- up against Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber for the final job -- are each slated to work four innings on Monday, when the Indians host the Angels in a 4:05 p.m. ET Cactus League tilt at Goodyear Ballpark. Setup man Joe Smith is also scheduled to pitch. A live webcast of the ballgame will be available on Indians.com.