The Cleveland Indians have announced that pitcher Carlos Carrasco will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain. In another expected move, outfielder Michael Brantley has been activated from the disabled list for the first time since torn labrum surgery last November.
Following an MRI earlier today, Carrasco is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with what is being called a left hamstring strain. Carrasco suffered the injury in Sunday's contest against the Detroit Tigers in the third inning. At the time, the Indians No. 2 pitcher was cruising, having only allowed one base runner through 2.2 innings of work. When running to the bag to try and get the final out of the frame, Carrasco landed awkwardly on his left leg and was immediately down on the ground in pain. Considering how ugly it looked initially, this is great news for Cookie himself as well as Indians fans.
The Indians will not "need" a fifth starter until well into May, so Carrasco will only miss a handful of starts. Trevor Bauer worked long relief after Carrasco went down yesterday, and he could easily slot as the team's fifth starter when the need arises. Other options in the minors include TJ House or Mike Clevinger, who has yet to pitch in the majors.
The Indians also announced that Michael Brantley will be activated from the disabled list. In seven rehab starts this season, Brantley has gone 5-for-21 with five extra-base hits. More important than the stats is the fact that Brantley played back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday for the first time since his surgery. Manager Terry Francona previously stated that Brantley will not necessarily play every day right away, but the ability to do so was a huge indicator of when he would be ready to return to the major-league squad.
Brantley will return to his spot in left field although he may see some games at designated hitter if Tito decides to ease him back into action slowly. This should at least eliminate Jose Ramirez from playing in the outfield as much as possible, while also allowing him to spell Juan Uribe at third base more often.
Carrasco being injured is much worse than having another roster spot, of course, but Carrasco's trip to the disabled list was a bit of a blessing in disguise, as far as roster construction goes. The Indians will not need to make another crucial 25-man shift until Carrasco returns. At that time, a member of the bullpen or one of Marlon Byrd, Tyler Naquin, or even (as a long shot) Lonnie Chisenhall may be designated for assignment or released.