Cleveland (0-2) at Texas (2-0)

Sunny Currently: Arlington, TX
Temp: 75° F
  • Game info: 2:05 pm EDT Thu Apr 9, 2009
  • TV: STO, FSSW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Carl Pavano seems confident he can revive his once-promising career now that he’s a member of the Cleveland Indians.

The oft-injured right-hander gets his first chance Thursday when he tries to help the Indians avoid being swept in a three-game road series against the Texas Rangers.

Pavano makes his Cleveland debut after a tumultuous four seasons with the New York Yankees. After going 18-8 with a 3.00 ERA with Florida in 2004, a variety of injuries limited him to 26 starts and loads of scrutiny while in the Bronx.

Now, away from New York and the reminder of not living up to his four-year, $40 million contract, Pavano is hoping for a rebirth with the Indians (0-2), who haven’t been swept in a three-game season-opening series since 1985.

“It’s a new start,” said Pavano, who signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with Cleveland after recovering from reconstructive elbow surgery to go 4-2 with a 5.77 ERA in seven late-season starts for the Yankees last season.

“The health is there and repetition should help me get back to being my old self,” he said. “I take it as a compliment that (the Indians) believe in me and they’re giving me the opportunity.”

The Indians believe Pavano can fit nicely into a rotation anchored by reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee and Fausto Carmona, who both struggled in their first starts of this week.

“I feel like we’re making a pretty good bet about him physically because he’s far enough along and beyond that,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “I feel pretty confident when I look at him in our rotation. We still think there is a lot there.”

A solid outing in his first appearance against the Rangers (2-0) would help Pavano and his new club after Cleveland was outscored 17-6 in losing its first two games.

“That’s a good hitting club,” Wedge said of the Rangers. “They’ve gotten some pretty good swings out there the last couple of days.”

Nelson Cruz homered twice and drove in three runs in Wednesday’s 8-5 win for Texas, while 20-year-old rookie shortstop Elvis Andrus went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and hit his first major league home run.

“It’s always good to start with wins,” said Cruz, who is 4-for-9 in the series. “Since spring training, everybody has talked about being together and supporting one another.”

Ian Kinsler is also 4-for-9 in the series for the Rangers, who haven’t swept an opening series since 1996.

Andrus, 3-for-8 in the series, became the fourth-youngest Rangers player to hit his first big league homer behind Ivan Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez and Sammy Sosa.

“Elvis is not going to hit many home runs,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “But every now and then, he’s going to catch one.”

Brandon McCarthy takes the mound for Texas after missing most of 2008 with severe right elbow inflammation. He went 1-1 with a 4.09 ERA in five starts— all in August and September—after going 5-10 with a 4.87 ERA in 2007.

The right-hander is 3-1 with a 2.36 ERA in five starts against the Indians.

Victor Martinez went 2-for-5 and Ben Francisco hit a two-run homer Wednesday for the Indians, who managed some offensive production after recording just five hits in a 9-1 season-opening loss Monday.

Martinez is 5-for-12 with four doubles, a home run and two RBIs lifetime against McCarthy.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Pavano Min vs. B. McCarthy LAD
14-12 Record 7-4
5.10 ERA 4.62
147 K 65
39 BB 36
1.37 WHIP 1.36

Scoreboard

Thursday, Apr 9