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Carrasco shines in short rehab appearance in Akron

By CAMERON FIELDS • Updated Aug 20, 2019 at 4:41 PM

AKRON — When Cleveland Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco came out from the bullpen at Canal Park on Monday night, fans gave him a standing ovation.

Carrasco made his first rehab appearance with the Akron RubberDucks in a 7-4 loss to the Harrisburg Senators, the Washington Nationals’ Class AA affiliate.

His first pitch clocked in at 97 mph, and while he was nervous before he came in, he said his angst went away after that first pitch. He finished with 16 pitches, one strikeout and one walk in his one inning.

In July, Carrasco announced he had been diagnosed with leukemia. His last major league appearance was May 30, when the Indians lost 10-4 against the Chicago White Sox. Last Friday, Carrasco threw a live batting practice session with the Lake County Captains, the Indians’ Class A affiliate.

“It feels great because those people (were) the ones behind me the whole way from day one to now,” Carrasco said of the fans in Akron.

Carrasco said during his time away from baseball he’s thrown “maybe three or four bullpens.” When he saw his first pitch clocked in so high, he was excited.

“Right away I looked back to the scoreboard because I just wanted to find out what was that pitch, and it was 97,” Carrasco said. “It feels great.”

After the game, Carrasco was upbeat and positive, happy to be back on the mound.

“It was really special today,” Carrasco said. “Spent 2 1/2 months away from baseball. Just coming back today out of the bullpen, it feels great.”

Carrasco said his treatment will continue, and he’s eager to get back to playing. He is expected to have his second rehab appearance with the RubberDucks on Thursday against the Richmond Flying Squirrels, the San Francisco Giants’ Class AA affiliate. Carrasco said for now he expects to throw one inning.


Kluber could be out two weeks

NEW YORK — Two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber will be shut down for two weeks after he left his rehab start Sunday for Class AAA Columbus with an injury to his left abdominal muscle.

Kluber was in Cleveland on Monday undergoing an MRI and other tests. The Indians made an announcement on his condition Tuesday before they opened a three-game series against the Mets at Citi Field.

The question now is: Will Kluber have enough time to make a couple of regular-season starts and be available should the Indians make the postseason? If he’s shut down for two weeks that would probably make him unavailable through August. Then he’d need 10 to 14 days to build his arm and body back up.

That’s cutting it close, especially with the Indians playing from behind. They trailed the Twins by 2 1/2 games in the AL Central on Monday before Minnesota played against the White Sox in Chicago. In the wild card, the Indians had a one-game lead on the first spot over Tampa Bay.

Kluber, who has not pitched in the big leagues since suffering a broken right forearm on May 1, was scheduled to throw 80 to 85 pitches on Sunday. If all went well, there was a chance he could have rejoined the Tribe’s rotation Friday against Kansas City at Progressive Field.

On Sunday, Kluber was removed after one inning and 20 pitches because he felt tightness in his left abdominal area. It was Kluber’s third rehab start.

This has been a tough season for Tribe starters. Mike Clevinger strained a muscle in his upper back in his second start of the season. Kluber suffered the broken ulna bone in his right arm when he was hit by a line drive on May 1 against the Marlins. Carlos Carrasco was diagnosed chronic myeloid leukemia and made his first rehab start Monday night at Class AA Akron. Clevinger has since rejoined the rotation.

Because of the injuries and illness, the Indians were forced to dip into the minor leagues and Zach Plesac, Adam Civale and Adam Plutko have pitched well.

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