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Carrasco thriving out of the bullpen for Indians

CLEVELAND -- The Indians are still holding out hope that Carlos Carrasco can someday emerge as an overpowering starting pitcher. For the time being, Cleveland is content with the power option it has coming out of the bullpen.

Since being shifted to the Tribe's relief corps, Carrasco has put his power fastball on full display, minimizing mistakes along the way and providing Cleveland with a long-relief option.

"Maybe pitching out of the bullpen allows you to simplify some things," Indians bullpen coach Kevin Cash said. "I think everybody has kind of stressed to him that, 'When you come in and get those appearances out of the 'pen, think of yourself more as a power pitcher.'"

In five relief outings this season, Carrasco has picked up one win while spinning 11 2/3 shutout innings, during which he has nine strikeouts against four walks. Over his past four relief appearances, dating back to Aug. 20, hitters have posted just a .095 (2-for-21) average against the right-hander.

Carrasco's showing as a reliever has been a drastic contrast to his performance this year as a starter. In that role, the righty went 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA in seven outings.

"The reason that I'm pitching good out of the bullpen," Carrasco said, "is I never think about when the time is coming to pitch. As a starter, you have four days to think about how you're going to attack the hitters and everything. In the bullpen, I just wait for [pitching coach Mickey Callaway] to call so I can get ready. That's made me more comfortable.

"And, to be honest, out of the bullpen, I come at the hitters more aggressive."

Since converting to a relief role, Carrasco has thrown roughly the same percentage of fastballs, but he has dramatically reduced his usage of curveballs. The right-hander has focused on countering his fastball with his slider and changeup.

"Going forward, eventually he's going to be best served as a starter," Cash said. "He's going to help us the most that way. But what he's done here the last month has definitely opened some eyes like, 'You know what? This isn't that bad of a situation to have.' He's been outstanding."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian.
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