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Carrasco takes big step vs. Minor League hitters

Right-hander pitches BP in first time throwing since leukemia diagnosis
@feinsand
August 16, 2019

NEW YORK -- Carlos Carrasco took an important step Friday, throwing live batting practice for the first time since he was diagnosed with leukemia in early June. Carrasco threw 25 pitches to hitters from the club's Class A Lake County affiliate, advancing beyond the bullpen sessions he's been throwing for

NEW YORK -- Carlos Carrasco took an important step Friday, throwing live batting practice for the first time since he was diagnosed with leukemia in early June.

Carrasco threw 25 pitches to hitters from the club's Class A Lake County affiliate, advancing beyond the bullpen sessions he's been throwing for more than six weeks.

"It sounded like everything went really well," manager Terry Francona said. "We'll reassess and see what the next step is."

There is no timetable for Carrasco to return to the Majors, but Francona said regardless of what the rest of the season holds for the 32-year-old right-hander, just having him back on a mound facing hitters is an encouraging sign.

"It's a huge boost to him," Francona said. "Even if this is all he did the rest of the year, you could see how excited he was to do it, that gives us a lift in itself. If it gets to the point that he comes back and helps us pitching, great. But just the fact that he's on the mound and you see him smiling, that's good in itself."

Two step
Greg Allen was back in the No. 2 spot in the lineup Friday, his second straight start there and the third in the past six games. Allen is in the midst of a strong week, going 7-for-22 (.318) with two homers and a .984 OPS in his past five games.

“He's earned some at-bats," Francona said. "That's never a bad thing. He's given us, just like Oscar [Mercado] has, some speed and some life in our lineup wherever we put him."

Allen is slashing .257/.315/.426 in 54 games this season, impressing Francona with his ability to play all over the outfield in a role typically handled by veterans.

"It's good to hear," Allen said. "Good to have that confidence from the staff, from your teammates."

Golden endorsement
While most of the talk following Thursday's 19-5 thrashing of the Yankees centered on the Indians' offense, starter Adam Plutko took some time to campaign for Roberto Perez for his defensive contributions.

"There's no contest: Roberto Perez is the Gold Glove winner this year," Plutko said. "It goes beyond catching and defense; it's game-calling and game management. He does that probably better than any other catcher in the big leagues."

Perez considers himself a defense-first catcher, though his first-inning homer Thursday gave the 30-year-old veteran 20 for the season, an astonishing figure given that his previous career high before this season -- in the Majors or the Minors -- had been eight.

"I want to be behind the plate first and then worry about my offense," Perez said. "It's been an unbelievable season and we still have a lot of baseball left. To be able to do that, it's a plus for me. I've been working so hard on my hitting, but like I said, I'm a defensive guy first. To be able to do that is something special."

Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined MLB.com as a reporter in 2001.