Each candidate had at least one strike against his case for winning the job -- except Jeanmar Gomez.
Roberto Hernandez, once known as Fausto Carmona, couldn't get approved for re-entry into the U.S. in time, and continues to pitch in the Dominican Republic.
Kevin Slowey, acquired from the Rockies over the winter, went 0-8 with a 6.67 ERA with Minnesota last season. He posted similar numbers in Spring Training: 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in four starts.
David Huff carried a 5.79 ERA through six appearances before landing on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring.
Zach McAllister only pitched with the big league club three times in Spring Training, and posted a 4.50 ERA in six innings.
Then there is Gomez. He earned inclusion into the open competition after going 5-3 with a 4.47 ERA in 11 appearances last season. He was arguably the club's best pitcher in Spring Training, with a 1-1 record and 1.37 ERA in 19 2/3 innings of work.
His performance earned him the vacant rotation spot.
"I feel good, but that's just one step," Gomez said. "We need to continue to work hard every day. My slider was much better this year compared to two years ago. That helped me a lot with the hitters."
Gomez will make his season debut Tuesday against the White Sox, a club he has faced twice. In those starts, he is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA.
His opponent, Philip Humber, hasn't fared as well against the Indians. In four appearances (three starts) against Cleveland in 2011, Humber went 0-1 with a 7.43 ERA in 13 1/3 innings.
Humber pitched well in Spring Training, going 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA in four starts. He pitched five innings and allowed three runs in his final spring outing last Wednesday.
"I finished on a positive note," Humber said. "It was good to have a few runners on base and work on being quick to the plate. All systems go."
White Sox: Bullpen off to fast start
Chicago's bullpen has blanked its competition so far this season.
Through 9 2/3 innings, the White Sox 'pen has surrendered just one run, on a ninth-inning homer in Monday's 4-2 win against Cleveland.
"It definitely is a very positive group we have out there," lefty Matt Thornton said. "We are willing to do anything it takes to win games."
What makes the group's success even more impressive is its youth. Rookies Nate Jones and Addison Reed have held their own, as has first-year closer Hector Santiago.
Santiago, a 24-year-old rookie, came out of nowhere to win the closer's job. The left-hander yielded just one run in 11 spring innings.
"Hector went from probably the long guy coming into Spring Training to the closer," Thornton said. "That's how good of a spring he had. ... His stuff is pretty awesome. He's a unique pitcher who is fun to watch."
Indians: Acta unveils new lineup against lefties
Cleveland's batting order got a makeover for Monday's contest against the White Sox. Manager Manny Acta wanted to give some starters a rest after his club played 37 innings in three days against the Blue Jays.
His normal lineup, however, is left-handed heavy. Chicago started southpaw Chris Sale on Monday, so Acta employed some right-handed help off his bench.
Jason Donald, Jose Lopez, Aaron Cunningham and Lou Marson all made their first starts of the season.
"It's the beginning of the season," Acta said. "And, it's also a combination of facing a guy who can be very tough on some of our left-handers. It's too bad you don't have a bigger roster like in Spring Training."
Donald went 0-for-4 on Monday. Marson went hitless in three at-bats. Cunningham notched a single and Lopez hit a solo home run.
Acta said Hernandez has worked his way up to a pitch count of 85 while working at the Indians' baseball academy in the Dominican Republic. Hernandez is waiting for a new visa from the U.S. so he can rejoin the Indians at some point this season.
"He's getting a little antsy back home and he wants to get over here," Acta said. "But it's totally out of his or our hands."
The White Sox won 11 of their 18 meetings with the Tribe last season.
Ubaldo Jimenez, serving a five-game suspension, is expected to start Saturday at Kansas City.