KC@CLE: Carson's two-run shot adds to lead in ninth

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- While the big league regulars get the bulk of their Cactus League playing time in the first five innings or so, games are often decided (or put out of reach) after that. And for the Indians, many spring wins have been the product of some significant late-innings surges from the organization's young players.

Between the seventh and eighth innings of Wednesday's and Thursday's wins against the Padres and the Royals, the Indians tallied a total of 17 runs. That's a lot of production for players who don't have much Major League service time among them.

"The guys we put in at the midpoint of the game or whenever the regular guys, the veteran guys leave the game, we always get a great effort from whoever comes in, and that's made camp a lot more enjoyable," manager Terry Francona said. "We get a kick out of watching them. They give a great effort, and the scoreboard generally reflects it."

In those two games alone, David Adams had one hit and two runs, David Cooper had two hits, two runs and two RBIs, Ryan Rohlinger had a hit, four runs and an RBI and Luke Carlin had a hit, a run and three RBIs.

Center fielder Matt Carson had three hits (one home run), three RBIs and a run.

"He's just a solid player. He waits for his opportunity," Francona said of Carson, who appeared in 20 games for Cleveland last year. "He's always ready."

Indians option reliever Price to Triple-A

Francona on Indians' decision to option Price

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians optioned right-hander Bryan Price to Triple-A Columbus on Friday morning, cutting their Cactus League roster to 52 players.

Price, 27, appeared in four games in relief this spring and tallied 4 1/3 innings. He surrendered three hits, two earned runs and three walks while striking out four.

"He's got really good stuff," manager Terry Francona said. "He's got three Major League pitches."

Price, a first-round Draft pick of the Red Sox in 2008, most recently appeared in Thursday's Cactus League game against the Royals, when he gave up all of his hits and runs allowed this spring in a stint of 1 1/3 innings.

"I'm almost glad it happened [Thursday]," Francona said. "The game sped up on him a little bit and he admitted it. And he said, 'I get it.'

"Now it may happen again, but he understands it. He knows what he has to do. Now he just has to go do it and be consistent, because there's no reason he can't be a solid Major League reliever."

Quote to note

"I'm not sure I even view it as competition. I really don't. Whoever isn't in our starting rotation or in our bullpen, there's a pretty decent chance there's a number of guys in there that are gonna help us win. I know that. Sometimes it's hard to convince them the day they get sent down, but that's why we try to start working on that atmosphere in here now and not wait until Opening Day, because there's going to be a large number of guys in that group that end up being with us this year."
-- Francona on players fighting for rotation and bullpen spots this spring

Smoke signals

• Friday's game against the White Sox will be an instant-replay game, allowing the teams to try out Major League Baseball's new system that will be implemented this year. Cleveland's split-squad game Sunday against the Cubs in Mesa will also be an instant-replay game, along with its two games March 17 and March 24 against the Reds in Goodyear, Ariz.

• Francona said outfielder Nyjer Morgan is still being monitored for the slight left calf strain he suffered during an eighth-inning double in Wednesday's game against the Padres.

"He's improving. He went out and threw this morning," Francona said Friday. "He will take a test to see where he is and we'll go from there. That will happen tomorrow."

Morgan is considered day to day.