If all goes well, early September could mark return for a pair of Indians pitchers

Carlos Carrasco and Dan Otero nearing potential activation

T.J. Zuppe
August 24, 2019 - 7:22 pm
Carlos Carrasco

Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images

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CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) — Once Carlos Carrasco proved capable of returning to the mound for a pair of minor-league rehab assignments earlier this month, it always made a degree of sense for the Indians to wait to activate Carrasco until roster expansion in September.

Given that path, the Indians could exercise patience. Carrasco could take the extra time necessary to get back to some sense of normal — something that understandably was far from a guarantee. The team also wouldn’t be forced to shuffle its 25-man roster to make space prior to when the club can welcome up to 40 players in the final month.

With each encouraging step forward in Carrasco’s battle following a Leukemia diagnosis earlier this season, that plan seemingly inches closer to reality. On Saturday, Tribe manager Terry Francona revealed that an early-September return is something that continues to be discussed for Carrasco and veteran hurler Dan Otero, who has been out since late May.

“Otero is on schedule where he’ll come off on [Sept. 1] down in Tampa,” Francona said. “I think we’re hoping that Cookie’s the same way. That’s kind of the plan. And that can change. But that’s been discussed.”

Carrasco, of course, still has several hurdles to clear. Luckily, the righty noted that he hasn’t felt any soreness following his first two rehab appearances with Double-A Akron, and he’ll continue his minor-league schedule on Sunday with Triple-A Columbus. In addition to his expected two-inning appearance with the Clippers, Carrasco is scheduled to log a couple of additional outings in the minors next week prior to a potential return.

Otero, meanwhile, hasn’t appeared in a Major League game since May 30. The veteran reliever posted a 4.56 ERA in 23 2/3 innings before landing on the injured list with shoulder inflammation. He experienced a bit of a setback on his first attempt at a minors rehab assignment in July, but has since logged seven appearances at Triple-A Columbus and one at Double-A Akron since restarting his rehab on Aug. 6.

Otero has yet to allow a run in his nine most recent minor league innings.

Both Otero and Carrasco are currently on the 60-day disabled list, so additional roster moves would be required to activate them next month.

Here are a few more injury updates:

- Bradley Zimmer (shoulder, side injury) is playing in his final game at Double-A Akron on Saturday. He will transfer to Triple-A Columbus on Monday.

- Jordan Luplow (hamstring) ran the bases on Friday. He is scheduled to run them again on Sunday.