Indians' Carlos Carrasco rejoins roster for first time since leukemia diagnosis
The veteran right-hander figures to work out of the bullpen, at least for the time being
Veteran right-hander Carlos Carrasco was activated by Cleveland on Sunday as part of the club's roster expansion, completing his return to the majors for the first time since being diagnosed with leukemia earlier this year.
Carrasco had been on minor-league rehab assignment, and he'd looked strong -- in terms of both results and velocity -- through three appearances at the Double- and Triple-A levels. That's why manager Terry Francona revealed last Wednesday that Carrasco would be back with the big-league club when rosters expanded on Sunday.
Here's what Francona had to say on MLB Network Radio:
"The plan is to activate [Carrasco] on the first -- which is Sunday. If all goes well tomorrow with his last bullpen outing, we'll pitch him out of the bullpen."
Carrasco, 32, hasn't pitched for the Indians since May 30. In 12 starts this season, Carrasco has pitched to a 4.98 ERA. Those numbers are very understandably out of step with Carrasco's recent history, but he still performed well at the command-and-control level. Prior to this season, Carrasco established himself as one of the best starting pitchers in baseball. From 2014-18, Carrasco averaged 171 innings per season with an ERA+ of 133 and a K/BB ratio of 4.94. In 2017, he finished fourth in the AL Cy Young balloting.
As Francona noted, the plan for the time being is to use Carrasco out of the bullpen. Given his stuff and track record, he figures to be a valuable weapon out of the pen as the Indians attempt to catch the Twins in the AL Central down the stretch. No matter what happens on the mound, though, Carrasco's return from cancer is cause for celebration.
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