For Carrasco, competition an individual matter
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco has a new book in hand and a new frame of mind this spring.
While holding a copy of H.A. Dorfman's, "The Mental ABCs of Pitching," Carrasco said on Saturday that he is trying to keep his focus on individual tasks. The right-hander is in the midst of a competition for the lone vacancy in Cleveland's rotation, but he is doing all he can to steer his concentration in another direction.
"I'm going to be honest with you, I don't come in here to compete," Carrasco said. "I just come in here to compete against the hitter -- not another pitcher. I know everyone here is looking for a job like me -- everyone in here -- but I don't come here to compete against pitchers, just against hitters. That's what I need to do."
Carrasco said he worried too much about external issues in the past.
"He spoke to us numerous times about it, and he's right," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He was pitching kind of for his Major League life. He knew there was a chance he'd go to Triple-A and things like that. That's just the reality of it."
Carrasco is out of Minor League options, which means he will likely open the year on the Tribe's pitching staff in some capacity, barring an unforeseen development. Right now, the Indians are giving the righty a chance at winning a rotation spot, but Carrasco also showed last season (1.32 ERA in 13 2/3 relief innings) that he can handle a bullpen job.
Overall last year, Carrasco went 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA in 15 games in his first season back from Tommy John surgery. He struggled mightily in the rotation, but became much more aggressive during his stint in the 'pen.
"Last year is last year," Carrasco said. "But I need to bring that mentality from the bullpen to starting now."
Carrasco is up against Josh Tomlin, Aaron Harang, Trevor Bauer and Shaun Marcum for the fifth spot in the rotation.
During Saturday's workout, Carrasco threw off a mound in his first live batting practice session of the spring, facing a handle of Cleveland's hitters. He said his tempo was too fast in the beginning, but he felt stronger as the workout progressed. Carrasco also got to test out the new mechanical changes (creating more deception with his lead arm) he implemented over the winter.
"I think he looks very strong," Francona said. "I like his delivery adjustments. It's just not a matter of him settling in and kind of taking what he has and taking it into competition. He is ready to pitch and do well. His body, he's strong. He's throwing hard and he's got all his pitches. Now he just has to go compete."