Indians announce what's next for Carlos Carrasco

Righty set to make next rehab appearance with Columbus on Sunday

T.J. Zuppe
August 23, 2019 - 8:23 pm
Carlos Carrasco

Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images

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CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) — Carlos Carrasco held his camera to his face, peering through the view finder and focusing on the cookie emoji that highlighted the back of the Players’ Weekend uniform.

After snapping a few photos of the black jersey, Carrasco returned the camera to its sticker-covered case — a reminder of the 34 countries he said he's visitied — before turning to greet a handful of reporters that had gathered at his locker on Friday afternoon.

Before long, the attention shifted to the jersey.

“[Francisco] Lindor’s got a smile. [Mike] Clevinger’s got two fingers and sunshine. It’s completely different,” Carrasco said when asked about the emoji. The man with the nickname "Cookie" then quickly pointed to the bite that had been taken out of his favorite treat.

“I just wanted a cookie,” Carrasco said with a smile. “But they made the design right there with a little bite out of it.”

Unfortunately, the 32-year-old righty, who is currently battling his way back from a Leukemia diagnosis earlier this year, won’t get an opportunity to sport his Players’ Weekend uniform on the mound— perhaps that’s why he attempted to document it with a series of photos. But on a much more important and positive note, Carrasco said he felt “normal” — no soreness — following Thursday’s 1 2/3 innings performance with Double-A Akron. 

As a result, with two minor-league outings under his belt, he is inching toward a potential late-season return to the big-league club.

“After two and a half months,” Carrasco said, “just getting back to the mound, in the first outing, one inning and yesterday two innings and 25 pitches, it’s feeling great, man.”

As for the next step, Carrasco will pitch approximately two innings with Triple-A Columbus on Sunday. If all goes well, the righty will log another pair of minor-league rehab outings next week, each expected to be an inning separated by a couple of off days.

Of course, considering all Carrasco has been through over the past few months, they also want to avoid putting too much on the right-hander too quickly.

“We told him we’d revisit each time,” manager Terry Francona said, noting the current plans are subject to change. “I think he’s excited about where he is, because of that we got excited.

“I think we need to remember that he missed three months and he’s pitched twice. We’ve said it before but you can’t just care about somebody’s well-being when it’s convenient. That doesn’t make sense. I told him, ‘I’d love to have you back yesterday,’ because I think you put him in our bullpen, he has the chance to do some special things. I think we need to do this right for him.”

At the same time, the team is also likely looking ahead to when rosters expand on Sept. 1. As of now, the easiest way to make room for Carrasco is waiting until that date. It just so happens that perfectly aligns with their plan to closely monitor the talented hurler, giving him a few more outings before bringing him back for a heartwarming return.

“He knows we care about him, he knows,” Francona said. “He wants to pitch, which we respect. He knows we care.”

Injury updates

Francona also provided rehab updates on the following players.

Corey Kluber (left oblique strain): “He’s gonna get another imaging done [Friday],” Francona said. "The reason behind that is to see if there’s anything they feel they can do to kind of speed up or enhance the recovery process. It’s probably not going to alter the time table a ton either way, but you just don’t want to leave any stone unturned.”

Jordan Luplow (right hamstring strain): “Lup is gonna run the bases [Friday],” Francona said. “He’s doing really well. The guys said they were really proud of the way he kind of attacked it while we were gone. So, he’ll run the bases, and he’ll run the bases Sunday. We’ll kinda see where he’s at.”