CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona could hardly hold back his grin Monday afternoon.
Before every game, Francona addresses the media, fielding a handful of questions about his team. If there is news about a specific player that’s not asked about after 10 or 15 minutes, he’ll chime in on his own to make sure everyone is up to speed. But this time, he seemed eager to release news about starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco -- just 30 seconds after he took his seat at the podium.
"Carrasco’s gonna throw, start a bullpen, I think it’s Wednesday," Francona said. "I think it’s Wednesday [and] Saturday. I was just talking to him about it, but I’m getting my days all mixed up. But he’s gonna start throwing some ‘pens, which is kind of cool."
Carrasco was put on the injured list on June 5 with a blood condition that was later revealed to be chronic myeloid leukemia. And while the 32-year-old has been playing catch regularly and has thrown a few bullpen sessions already, he didn't bounce back well after the last few times. This will be a resumption of that process.
"I think we got to stay consistent with what we’ve said all along," Francona said. "I think we all hope he can come back and pitch for us -- that’s kind of stating the obvious. I think saying anything else, other than we really are trying to support him, isn’t fair to him."
While most injuries have general timelines for how long they require to heal, bouncing back from being treated for leukemia doesn’t come with the same type of handbook. The Indians are listening to Carrasco to see how his body responds to each step he takes. He’s been with the team during each homestand since the beginning of July and has continued to work out with his teammates on a regular basis. But Francona believes ramping up his bullpen sessions could help Carrasco keep his strong mindset while battling this disease.
“I just think he’s been on a routine as much as he can,” Francona said, “but just the fact that he can [throw] off the mound, I think gives him a little boost also.”
Otero ready for next rehab stint
Dan Otero (right shoulder inflammation) had been progressing nicely through his first three rehab appearances last month, but he didn’t bounce back as well as he would have liked after pitching back-to-back games on July 23-24. The righty was shut down for a few days before meeting with Francona to develop another plan. He threw some bullpens at Progressive Field and now feels well enough to head back to Triple-A Columbus on Tuesday.
Naquin out of lineup again
Tyler Naquin was kept out of Sunday’s lineup with sore ribs on his left side and was once again not penciled into the starting nine on Monday against the Rangers. Francona said that Naquin is healthy enough to play, but he opted to keep his left-handed hitting outfielder out of the lineup against Rangers left-hander Mike Minor.
“When he dove the other night, he kind of jammed like his rib area,” Francona said. “He wasn’t sure if it was his shoulder or his [ribs], but the play [on Thursday when] I wasn’t here, remember he dove late in the game. But he’s OK to play. They swapped Minor and [Ariel] Jurado, so that’s why.”
This date in Indians history
2001: Down 12-0 after the third inning and 14-2 through the sixth, the Tribe rallied for a 15-14 win over Seattle in 11 frames.