Galarraga, D-backs fall short against Indians

Galarraga, D-backs fall short against Indians

Galarraga, D-backs fall short against Indians
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Luis Valbuena came off the bench and hit his fourth homer of the spring as the Indians defeated a split-squad of D-backs, 5-3, on Sunday in Cactus League action at Goodyear Ballpark.

Valbuena replaced starting shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera as a pinch-runner in the bottom of the first inning when Cabrera suffered tightness behind his right knee running to first base on a single. His homer to right opened the third inning against D-backs starter Armando Galarraga.

Galarraga, who nearly pitched a perfect game against the Tribe last season as a member of the Tigers, is vying for a spot at the rear end of the D-backs rotation with only 12 days to go before the start of the regular season.

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The game marked the return of Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore, who had been out since last May after undergoing microfracture surgery on his left knee. Sizemore was the designated hitter and made two plate appearances, grounding out to second to open the first inning and flying out to center to end the second.

"It's been a long time," Sizemore said. "It's just nice get back into a game. "I was anxious. Not really nervous. I just want to get out there and get that first AB under my belt."

Galarraga was roughed up in the first inning for three runs. After Galarraga walked the bases loaded, Travis Buck launched a double near the top of the wall down the right-field line to score all three runs. Galarraga tossed five innings, allowing six hits and five earned runs, while walking two, whiffing one, plus the homer and a wild pitch.

Galarraga was not happy with his performance.

"The first inning was bad," he said. "I don't know. The last few times out I haven't felt good in the first inning. That always kills me. Three runs. Last time I went out I let up three runs, too. I need to get more aggressive. Put up some zeroes in the first inning."

Mitch Talbot threw 5 1/3 innings for the Tribe, giving up two runs (one earned), three hits, and three walks against a lineup mostly chocked with D-backs Minor Leaguers. He struck out one.

The D-backs scored their two runs off Talbot in the fifth fashioned around doubles by Paul Goldschmidt and Nicko Gallego, who are both ticketed this season for the D-backs Minor League system.

Up next for the D-backs: The D-backs return to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on Monday to play a night game against the Dodgers. Ian Kennedy will get the start for the D-backs, and the right-hander is looking to bounce back after a pair of subpar outings. Kennedy was named the team's Opening Day starter, but has yet to pitch into the fifth inning yet this spring.

Up next for the Indians: The Tribe will host the Royals on Monday at 4:05 p.m. ET. Josh Tomlin will be on the mound for the Indians and will be opposed by Luke Hochevar. The Tribe plays four out of their next five on the road, and only have four more games this spring at Goodyear Ballpark.

Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.