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Carrasco Gets the Call


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BALTIMORE -- Rosters officially expand from 25 men to 40 on Tuesday, and one of the handful of new faces being brought to the big leagues by Cleveland will be front and center in the opener of a three-game series at Detroit as right-hander Carlos Carrasco takes the mound against the Tigers at Comerica Park.


Carrasco, 22, will be making his long-awaited Major League debut, an outing that most expected would come with him in a Philadelphia Phillies uniform.


Carrasco was acquired from the Phillies on July 29 in the blockbuster trade of southpaw Cliff Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco in exchange for a quartet of prospects: Carrasco, young fireballer Jason Knapp, infielder Jason Donald and catcher Lou Marson, all of whom automatically rose right to the top of the Indians' prospect crop.


Between Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where Carrasco started the season, and Triple-A Columbus, where he's been pitching since the deal, Carrasco has combined to go 11-10 with a 4.64 ERA. He leads the International League in innings (157) and strikeouts (148) and has gone 5-1 with a 3.19 ERA in six starts since the trade.


"He's improved since he's come over here, I think," said Indians manager Eric Wedge. "He's done a batter job of working through the ballgame and getting a little deeper into the game."


Wedge, who has not yet met his Tuesday starter, is definitely looking forward to seeing Carrasco, about whom he's certainly heard a lot.


"I'm excited to see him, to get him up here and get him started on this part of his journey," Wedge said. "As a young pitcher, I don't want anybody to expect too much, I don't think that's fair to the kid, but I just want him to come up here and get as comfortable as possible, help him relax and have fun."


A three-time All-Star Futures Game selection who started the game for the World Team in 2008 at Yankee Stadium, the Venezuelan-born Carrasco is known for his electric fastball which can touch the mid-90s.


Though he's been somewhat inconsistent, as one might expect from a young pitcher, most believe that Carrasco has the stuff to become a front-of-the-rotation starter.


Carrasco's arrival comes at a good time for Indians fans, who may have given up the ghost of hope with their team basically out of contention. He is a reminder that the future may hold some of the keys to another run at the pennant in the not-so-distant future.


While most of the Cleveland club will enjoy the Monday off-day at home before continuing the nine-game road trip, Carrasco will arrive in Detroit a day early to settle in.

I'm really excited to see him play as well as everyone else coming up with the expanded rosters. The last month of the season will be really interesting.

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You know, I was sitting there watching that game last night and looking at both Jackson and Carrasco, it was weird.


I remember two years ago the Indians going down to TB and Jackson starting. Indians hammered him, and the whole night they talked about how many starts Edwin Jackson had made, w/o recording a W. In watching the Indians knock him around the park though, it was like they hit the ball hard or struck out.


That's what I saw in Carrasco last night. You can see that the talent is there and that he just needs to mature as a pitcher. The talk about him is that he's emotional, gets upset or excited easily, etc. A lot of young pitchers are this way. Nothing I saw last night concerns me long term.


CC and Carmona most recently had the same problem. Couldn't keep the ball down in the zone, because they were getting too amped up, trying to throw the ball too hard. Remember Carmona's stint at Closer in the post Bob Wickman era? 0-11 record or something, and a ridiculous stretch at Fenway where he couldn't keep the ball in the park. He took 3-4mph off his fastball, and Torii Hunter said it was like being at the plate while drunk.

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Guest Masters

The good thing I saw was that it didn't actually seem like Carrasco got rattled at all last night.


As someone said earlier, he couldn't keep the ball down. Additionally, I think he relied a bit to much on his fastball. Guys were just waiting for it and reacting to the off speed pitches. Once the catching staff gets used to him, I think we'll see better pitch selection. I do think the kid showed he has some talent.

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I'm not really sure what I think. His fastball looked really straight and never really got up to the 95mph range. His changeup is supposed to be his money pitch, but like you said, people would just sit on the fastball...so we didn't actually get a good look at what he's capable of.


Maybe I've just been watching too much Neftali Feliz lately. My expectations were pretty high.

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09/06/09 3:48 PM ET

Carrasco hopes for strong second start

Cleveland (60-76) vs. Texas (76-60), 6:05 p.m. ET

By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com


CLEVELAND -- Those first moments on a big league mound made for a nervous time for Carlos Carrasco.


"When I feel the mound and see all the people, I was almost scared a little bit," he said. "I had been to the Futures Game and seen all the people, but it's not like that."


Carrasco is referring to his Major League debut against the Tigers on Tuesday, when he was battered for six runs on nine hits with three walks, three strikeouts and three homers allowed in just three innings of work.


It was not the most auspicious of debuts for the guy who is considered a key acquisition from the trade that sent reigning American League Cy Young Award-winner Cliff Lee to the Phillies, but it was merely that -- a debut. The Indians don't expect it to be a precursor of things to come for the 22-year-old Carrasco, who is a highly regarded power arm.


Carrasco admitted he fell victim to the temptation to overthrow against the Tigers, and that flattened out his fastball. He hopes to correct the issue on Labor Day, when he gets the starting nod for the Tribe's series opener against the Rangers.


"I threw in the bullpen [Friday]," Carrasco said, "and just worked on thinking about the game and telling myself to take it easy."


One thing the Indians' coaching staff liked about Carrasco's first outing is that he didn't let the onslaught of hits he suffered force him to lose his cool or composure. That level-headed approach, they feel, should suit him well at this level.


Before the Tigers' outing, Carrasco's initial experiences in the Indians' organization had largely been positive. He was excited to join this team in the July 29 trade, because he knew it represented an opportunity to pitch in the big leagues in the near future.


But he also knew he'd have high expectations heaped upon him because of the pitcher the Indians gave up to get him.


"In my mind, I knew they traded a great pitcher, a Cy Young winner," Carrasco said, "so I knew I had to do the job. I became more focused."


Carrasco was 6-9 with a 5.18 ERA with Lehigh Valley in the Phillies' organization. But with Triple-A Columbus, he was 5-1 with a 3.19 ERA. He said he benefited from working with Columbus pitching coach Scott Radinsky.


"He told me I have to trust my fastball," Carrasco said of Radinsky. "That's what I had to do."


And that's what he'll have to do against the Rangers and beyond. Trust the fastball, and don't overthrow it.





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