Carrasco injury shifts Indians' pitching plans

Guyer forced to pitch, rotation altered temporarily

Alex Hooper
June 16, 2018 - 5:04 pm
Jun 16, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco (59) is led off the field after being injured during the second inning against the Minnesota Twins at Progressive Field.

© Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco left his Saturday start against the Minnesota Twins in the 2nd inning after being struck on the right arm by a line drive off of the bat of Joe Mauer.

The club called the injury a right forearm contusion. Carrasco was taken to Lutheran Hospital for precautionary X-rays, and no medical update on the pitcher would be given until Sunday morning.

The right-hander has had a bad streak of luck on batted balls back toward the mound. Carrasco was hit in the face by a line drive against the Chicago White Sox on April 15, 2015, and breaking his throwing hand after being hit by a liner by the Detroit Tigers’ Ian Kinsler on September 17, 2016.

When the comebacker initially landed, most immediately recalled those instances. This one could have been worse.

“From where I was standing, I thought it might have hit him in the face,” Manager Terry Francona said. “There was a little bit of a sense of relief, but it caught it right kind of on that funny bone. He was hurting.”

The damage was collateral, forcing former starter Oliver Perez into the game. The southpaw and three other relievers covered 4 2/3 innings before Francona went off the beaten path.

About an hour after making the decision to veer away from baseball commonality, Francona and his team were lost in the woods as outfielder Brandon Guyer made his Major League pitching debut.

The transition did not go terribly smoothly as Bench Coach Brad Mills met Guyer in the cage to tell him to go to left field. When he got to the dugout, the outfielder was informed by Francona that he would be about 240 feet closer to home plate when he took the field.

“I guess Millsie misunderstood him,” Guyer said.

Guyer retired Taylor Motter, Ryan LaMarre and Max Kepler in order on eight pitches. According to the 32-year-old, it was the first time he remembered pitching since undergoing elbow surgery 20 years prior, before which Guyer claimed he was ‘pretty good.’

Aside from being one of four options to take on the task, Francona cited ‘trust’ as the reason he went with the veteran to pitch. Trust, as in trust that he would not try anything funny and land himself on the disabled list.

Despite his manager’s expectations, Guyer admitted that the temptation was there.

“In the back of my head, I wanted to throw some off-speed stuff, but is it really worth it?” he asked.

“Yeah, I mean, honestly I just wanted to throw strikes,” Guyer added. “I knew if I did, they’d probably put it in play most likely and I didn’t know how that was going to go. They try to take me deep, got under some and luckily I was able to get out of it.”

The devil on Guyer’s shoulder did not only whisper ‘breaking stuff,’ but also ‘break stuff.’ The newly minted pitcher with 77 career hit-by-pitches at the plate admitted he gave thought to turning the tables, after being prodded by a reporter.

“Crossed my mind,” he laughed. “I wanted to see what it was like to hit somebody and not get hit, but then I was like, ‘You know what, it might just feel better just to get them out.’ Yeah, it did cross my mind, but I could hurt someone and all of that. It is what it is.”

Sunday’s scheduled starting pitcher, Adam Plutko entered the game in the top of the 7th inning after the Twins struck for three more in the 6th, making it an 8-3 game. The righty was called upon to cover two innings so that Josh Tomlin could remain fresh for the day game set to start 18 hours after Saturday’s ended.

“The hard thing is when you look up and it’s 4-2, and you’re like, ‘OK, we’re going to get back in this game.’ You’re trying to manage that,” Francona added. “And then Carl and I talked and we said if we fell behind, that’s when we talk to Adam to go down to the bullpen.”

Because Plutko threw, the team will call up righty Shane Bieber to take his spot on the hill in the Majors. Bieber was on schedule to pitch Sunday with Triple-A Columbus.