Carlos Carrasco Takes a Big Step Forward With First Rehab Appearance for Double-A Akron
In May, Carlos Carrasco was diagnosed with leukemia. Last night, he made his first rehab appearance for the Akron RubberDucks.
While the results don’t matter as much as the fact Carrasco is back on the mound after battling cancer, he pitched very well. He struck out one and walked one in a scoreless inning.
Carrasco’s fastball impressively reached the high 90’s. Carrasco couldn’t help but feel proud about his velocity. He told reporters that after his first pitch, he looked back to the scoreboard to see how hard he had thrown the ball. He was excited to see he had hit 97 mph.
The velo on Carlos Carrasco’s first four pitches: 97, 96, 96, 96.
— Mandy Bell (@MandyBell02) August 20, 2019
Adding Carrasco to a Cleveland Team Hitting Its Stride
The Cleveland Indians have been one of the hottest teams in baseball in the second half, posting a 24-13 record. Despite injuries, the starting rotation has been stellar, thanks in part to guys like Shane Bieber, Mike Clevinger, and Zach Plesac. But now with Carrasco nearing a return, the pitching staff is about to get even better.
It’s uncertain whether or not Carrasco will join the team as a starter. The 32-year-old hasn’t started a game since May 30. He may not have time to rebuild himself as a starter.
However, as seen from his promising rehab appearance, Carrasco could bring a filthy arsenal to the Cleveland bullpen. Carrasco would provide a huge boost for the Cleveland pen, considering closer Brad Hand has struggled in the second half — posting a 5.54 ERA since the All-Star break.
But with Corey Kluber’s rehab stint delayed for at least another two weeks, Carrasco could very well find a spot for himself in the rotation for a potential playoff run. Yes, the rotation has been solid. However, the starting staff is missing an established veteran presence, one which Carrasco can provide once he returns to the big leagues.
An Inspiring Comeback Story
On a nightly basis, fans are wowed by the tremendous athletic feats of the talented players across MLB. However, sometimes players show us the internal strength that truly matters. Carrasco’s diagnosis was devastating, reminding both fans and players about how much more there is to this game than home runs and strikeouts.
Carrasco, given the endearing nickname “Cookie” by old teammate Chris Perez, has a personality and attitude embedded into the team’s DNA. Zack Meisel of The Athletic wrote a wonderful story about just how much Carrasco means to his teammates. From sending funny videos in the team’s group chat, to simply being the most supportive cheerleader in the dugout, he means so much to his team. And it’s incredible to see him on the brink of returning.
Carrasco has shown nothing but strength throughout this entire process. His story is proof of how baseball (and sports in general) can bring out the best qualities in people: passion, determination, and emotional endurance.
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