Reds, Indians tie 6-6 in first spring game

Published 11:57 pm Saturday, March 3, 2012

GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — Scott Rolen’s shoulder looked just fine. Mike Leake appeared to be a little rusty.

Rolen went 2 for 2 in his return from shoulder surgery that caused him to miss the final two months of last season, and the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians played a 6-6, nine-inning tie Saturday in their spring training opener.

Rolen is a seven-time All-Star, including 2010 and 2011. But the 36-year-old didn’t play after July 20 last year and had arthroscopic surgery Aug. 3 to remove bone spurs and fragments from a joint in his left shoulder.

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Leake, competing for a spot in the Reds’ rotation, started for Cincinnati and allowed two runs — one earned — and four hits in two innings.

“Leake wasn’t as sharp as he usually is,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “I don’t worry about Leakie. His pitches weren’t up, but they were down the middle.”

Cleveland starter David Huff, among four candidates for the fifth slot in the Indians rotation, allowed three hits in two scoreless innings.

“I’m not thinking about fifth spot. I’m just thinking about attacking the hitter and making good pitches,” Huff said.

Michael Brantley, expected to move from left field to center to fill in for injured Grady Sizemore, doubled leading off the game for Cleveland and also singled in a 2-for-3 afternoon. Cleveland built a 4-0 lead in the first three innings against Leake and Ron Mahay, but the Reds tied it with four runs in the fourth off Frank Herrman.

Joey Votto, the 2010 NL MVP, doubled to start the inning against Herrman, who is trying to earn a spot in Cleveland’s bullpen after splitting time between the Indians and Triple-A Columbus last year. Jay Bruce had an RBI infield single, Drew Stubbs hit a two-run double and Devin Mesoraco, a 2007 first-round pick in 2007 who made it to the majors last season, tied it with a single.

Neftali Soto homered in the fifth against Robinson Tejeda for a 5-4 Reds’ lead.

“He works hard,” Baker said of Soto, a possible Reds’ first baseman of the future. “He’s improved a lot. We promoted him to Louisville at the end of last year. He hit 31 home runs and he missed a month.”

Cleveland went ahead in the ninth on Juan Diaz’s popped single and an error by shortstop Paul Janish.

Todd Frazier helped his chances to earn a utility spot with the Reds with a solo homer with one out in the bottom half against Chen Lee.