Carasiti makes right call going from coach to Rox reliever

With his wife's support, right-hander puts business aside for another Major League ride

May 27th, 2023

DENVER -- The call made to Rockies player development director Chris Forbes went in an unexpected direction and a dream destination.

Carasiti threw a career-high 2 1/3 innings of two-hit scoreless ball, with two strikeouts and one walk, and kept the Rockies close in a scruffy 5-2 loss to the Mets on Friday night at Coors Field.

The 31-year-old right-hander used an old-time forkball to hold the deficit he inherited from inefficient starter , who gave up four runs (three earned) while throwing 90 pitches in 4 2/3 innings.

Meanwhile, Mets star Max Scherzer distributed his 102 pitches over seven innings during which Ryan McMahon’s fifth-inning leadoff homer was the only run.

The Rockies also committed two errors. They lost an out in the ninth when Nolan Jones, making his Colorado debut, was thrown out at second after being overly aggressive on an infield bobble. Yet, the strangest part was Carasiti experiencing it in a Major League uniform.

Especially considering the reason he called Forbes.

“I had actually tried to get the [Double-A] Hartford pitching coach job,” he said.

That’s right. Carasiti, who was Colorado’s sixth-round pick out of St. John’s University in the 2012 MLB Draft, appeared in 19 games with the club in 2017 and another 11 with the Mariners in ‘19.

Around those career highlights, Carasiti married his high school sweetheart -- on the night in 2018 that he signed with Japan’s Yakult Swallows -- and he and his wife, Katrina, welcomed a son, Luca, a little over 2 years ago.

Carasiti’s career took him to the Rockies, Mariners and Cubs organizations.

He was with the Giants in 2020, when he blew out his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery. Carasiti then signed with the Red Sox in ‘21 and he needed another elbow surgery before ever pitching in their system.

Last season, Carasiti returned to the Giants, but he was released with an 8.31 ERA at Triple-A Sacramento. He finished the year with a 1.59 ERA in nine games with the independent Long Island Ducks.

Carasiti was fine with turning his dream to helping others reach theirs.

“I was over it, tired of everything and didn’t feel healthy,” Carasiti said. “I decided that I was going to stop and start my own pitching business back home.

“I did well with that at my facility where I helped out a guy, Dave Swanson.”

But Carasiti -- whose surname is pronounced “ca-ra-SET-ee” -- said his wife sensed he had one more shot. His friend, who had helped him through his career, and the business, Swanson Baseball in Berlin, Conn., could wait.

“She was here when I was with the Rockies before, and has been through everything,” Carasiti said. “She's pretty much the reason why I came back. She was the one telling me I should do it, and I still can do it.”

It turned out when Carasiti called Forbes, the Hartford job wasn’t open. Blaine Beatty returned to the pitching coach post for the Rockies’ affiliate. But Forbes’ words proved Katrina correct.

“He was like, ‘Why don’t you just come into camp, fight for a spot in Albuquerque and see what happens,” Carasiti said. “My wife said, ‘We should do it.’

“I started feeling really good throwing again, and my elbow was bouncing back really quick.”

Carasiti posted a 4.00 ERA through his first nine games at Albuquerque, but he logged a 2.77 ERA through his last 12. By last weekend, the Rockies were beset by rotation injuries and needed protection in long relief (not really Carasiti’s specialty).

A lover of chess, Carasiti had started a game with teammate Matt Koch before the start of a doubleheader and was trying to finish between games when Albuquerque manager Pedro Lopez walked in.

“‘P-Lo’ was like, ‘Whose chess board is that?’” Carasiti said. “I said it was mine and he said, ‘You’ve got to get that out of here.’

“Then he said, ‘You’ve got to pack it because they want you in Texas.’”

Carasiti gave up six runs on five hits and three walks to the Rangers at Arlington on Sunday. But at Coors Field -- a place Carasiti had not seen since before it underwent major clubhouse renovations -- he threw a scoreless inning on Tuesday, and protected the bullpen with greater length on Friday.

Carasiti has gone from asking for grown-up jobs to living his dream job, again.

“Some people don't even get one chance and I've got three,” Carasiti said. “Something like this doesn’t happen all the time. So I'm really grateful -- having a son now, being able to share that with him and seeing him in my jersey.

“It’s an awesome ride.”