If you already blocked it out of your mind, Carrasco left his Saturday start against the Minnesota Twins after taking a comebacker from Joe Mauer off his elbow. He walked off the field and was put on the disabled list a day later. Being the human baseball magnet that he is, this would mark his second disabled list trip that is the direct result of being hit with a baseball, and it’s the second time this season he’s gotten hit with a ball against the Twins.
The latest news is that there appears to be no structural damage to Carrasco’s elbow, thankfully. An MRI Monday revealed no damage and he’ll receive treatment over the next few days.
That’s a huge break for Carrasco and the Indians, now it’s just up to the Tribe to not rush him back to the field.
I’ll be the first to tell you I get a lot of things wrong, most of them baseball related — I should probably write the Indians an apology letter for not believing in Michael Brantley’s $11 million option. But I can tell you one thing I’m fairly sure of: The Indians don’t benefit from having Carlos Carrasco come back from this injury faster than necessary.
Call it bad luck or mismanagement, but either way the Indians’ recent history is littered with players hitting the disabled list, coming back quicker than expected, then going right back to the disabled list. Danny Salazar, for example, is a disabled list veteran at this point, and might have pitched a good chunk of his shortened 2017 season injured. Andrew Miller, despite being on the disabled list, kept throwing the ball instead of recovering and he’s still nowhere to be seen.
Miller’s case is a little more understandable if the Indians were desperately trying to get him back as quick as possible in his final year with the team. We learned right away how invaluable he is to the Indians bullpen as they racked up a league-worst ERA over the first couple months of the season, but there’s no reason to be as concerned about Carrasco missing 10 days, or even a few more. The most obvious reason being, he’s a starter. That’s a total of two, maybe three starts if you don’t do any shuffling to force his slot to skip a start.
On top of that, Carrasco’s absence will allow both Shane Bieber and Adam Plutko to audition for the long-term fifth starter spot going down the stretch, without one being constantly shuffled back to Triple-A Columbus between starts. Is auditioning two number five starters better than having Carlos Carrasco in lineup? Of course not. But the Indians don’t need Carrasco to win the division, they need him to win the World Series.
Let him heal.