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Francona on Carrasco: 'Maybe I rushed into it'

Pitcher struggles on mound in emotional return from leukemia
@MandyBell02
September 4, 2019

CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona had Carlos Carrasco warming in the bullpen when the game was tied at 2. Was this too soon to throw someone with just one big league inning under his belt since coming back from battling leukemia into a high-leverage situation? That's exactly the question

CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona had Carlos Carrasco warming in the bullpen when the game was tied at 2.

Was this too soon to throw someone with just one big league inning under his belt since coming back from battling leukemia into a high-leverage situation? That's exactly the question Francona pondered after the Tribe's 6-5 loss to the White Sox on Tuesday night.

Indians catcher Roberto Perez gave Carrasco a little bit of cushion before he entered in the top of the eighth, launching a go-ahead, three-run blast to put the Indians on top, 5-2. Aside from his emotional return to Progressive Field, Carrasco was due to face Leury Garcia, Tim Anderson and Jose Abreu.

"Because the guys who were coming up historically had no success against him," Francona said, when asked of the decision to pitch Carrasco. "I mean there was like a 1-for-18, a 4-for-32, there was like nothing."

But no matter what the stats said, the result didn't go in the Indians' favor. Carrasco gave up back-to-back singles to start the frame, rebounded with two strikeouts, but gave up consecutive home runs to give the White Sox the lead.

"Maybe I rushed into it a little bit, that's what I was thinking about after the game," Francona said. "But I really think for us to get where we're going, we're gonna need him. So, we got to get him, not that he's going to pitch tonight, get him back out there and get his legs under him."

Carrasco had pitched at Tampa Bay on Sunday, allowing one run on two hits in one inning and averaging 94.8 mph on his fastball. Over four Minor League rehab appearances, he gave up one run on four hits over five frames.

"It's different when you're rehabbing than when you're pitching in a Major League game," Francona said. "That's why I kind of questioned myself last night, like, 'Did I put him in a position that wasn't fair to him?'"

A long-shot return
Corey Kluber was nearing the end of his rehab assignment (fractured right forearm) when he strained his left oblique, shutting down the two-time Cy Young Award winner once again. He's been cleared to start doing some activities in the pool.

Will he be able to return at least as a relief option for the Indians this season?

"I don't know," Francona said. "I try not to ever be like that around him. He feels like he was one start away from coming to pitch and that went away. He's miserable about it, and it's not his fault. When I see him, I just say hello to him and ask him how he's doing because I don't want to press it. Because I don't think that's fair to him. He's doing stuff in the water right now. He's got a ways to go. But let's just let him do his thing. That's the fairest way to be to him.”

Naquin headed for 2nd opinion
Outfielder Tyler Naquin, who tore his right ACL as he crashed into the left-field wall at Tropicana Field last Friday, will receive a second opinion early next week in Houston on a visit with Dr. Walter Lowe.

This date in Indians history
1991: Jim Thome, 21, made his MLB debut playing third base for the Indians in an 8-4 win at Minnesota. He went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Mandy Bell covers the Indians for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MandyBell02.