Right-hander Carlos Carrasco has been an eminently successful part of the Indians’ pitching staff since he broke out six years ago, but serious health problems knocked his life and career off course in 2019. It has been almost a full year since Carrasco was diagnosed with leukemia in July, but he made so much progress in his recovery that he was able to make a late-season return as part of Cleveland’s bullpen and earn AL Comeback Player of the Year honors.
Heading into spring training this year, Carrasco looked like a shoo-in to reclaim a spot in the Indians’ rotation. However, before the coronavirus shut down camp, the 33-year-old dealt with a hip flexor strain and inflammation in his pitching elbow. The latter problem threatened to sideline Carrasco for a normal Opening Day, but with the season having been delayed by more than two months so far, he may have a better chance of partaking in a “full” 2020 campaign.
Per Paul Hoynes of cleveland.com, Carrasco has continued to throw bullpen sessions and send videos of them to manager Terry Francona and Carl Willis. Carrasco has been a regular attendee of Indians workouts at Progressive Field. Those actions show Carrasco plans to pitch this year, as Hoynes writes, though he adds that the team’s “prioritized the health of their players and staff members above all else so that decision is still on hold.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cancer survivors are among those who are at the highest risk of contracting the coronavirus, which puts people like Carrasco in especially dangerous territory. But if he is able to take the mound this season, it should be a welcome sight for the club from both morale and on-field standpoints. Carrasco understandably saw his numbers dip in 2019, but he was a front-line starter over the previous five seasons – an 856-inning stretch in which he logged a 3.27 ERA with 10.13 K/9 and 2.05 BB/9.