It wasn’t exactly the Final Four, more like the Anxious Four.

There is one vacant spot in the Indians’ rotation, and four of the contenders for that job fired their opening salvos Sunday, as the Tribe played the Brewers and the Reds.

Or maybe it’s overly dramatic to characterize the outings of Carlos Carrasco, Scott Kazmir and Trevor Bauer at Maryvale Ballpark and Daisuke Matsuzaka’s start at Goodyear Ballpark as the beginning of a pitched battle.

Manager Terry Francona certainly didn’t think so.

“I really don’t,” he said. “It’s way too early. These guys are just getting their innings in. There’s a lot of spring left to go.”

Players are taught to avoid thinking about their competitors and focus on preparing for the season. Of course, it’s impossible not to be keenly aware that you and the guy dressing two lockers away are trying to win the same roster spot. But players almost always say the right thing.

Asked about the fact that three contenders for the rotation all were pitched against the Brewers, Bauer said “It never occurred to me. Hey, they said you’re going out to pitch two innings Sunday, and I thought, ‘cool.’ I just try to pitch as well as I can and let them make the decision.”

Carrasco started the game and seemed a little too amped up. That is not surprising inasmuch he is coming off elbow reconstruction surgery and hasn’t pitched in a major-league game since Aug. 3, 2011.

He gave up four runs (three earned), four hits and one walk in one inning. There were mitigating circumstances. All of the Brewers’ hits were ground balls, and Carlos Santana and minor-league outfielder Tim Fedroff committed errors behind him.