Carrasco exits Minor League start feeling good

Right-hander, who hit 92-93 mph with fastball, has no pain in elbow

Carrasco exits Minor League start feeling good

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Carlos Carrasco did not care about his pitching line. All the Indians starter was concerned about was the fact that his arm felt strong. He fired fastballs and spun an array of offspeed pitches in a Minor League start on Monday.

He came away relieved. The outing helped Carrasco feel that his recent bout with elbow swelling was nothing more than a scare.

"In the beginning, I was a little bit scared," Carrasco said. "I didn't know what I had in my elbow. But right now, it was only inflammation. So we took a week off and took medication, and everything feels fine now."

During his last Cactus League start on March 13, Carrasco felt discomfort in his right elbow while throwing his breaking ball. He attempted to push through the outing by relying almost exclusively on his fastball, but he allowed eight runs on eight hits, including three home runs. The next morning, Carrasco underwent an MRI, which revealed minor swelling but no structural damage.

Carrasco, who missed the entire 2012 season after having Tommy John surgery on his elbow, said the test results came as "a huge relief." He was cleared to resume playing catch and advanced to a bullpen session with no issues on Saturday.

During his Minor League appearance against the Reds' Triple-A affiliate, Carrasco sat at around 92-93 mph with his fastball, which multiple sources said is normal for him at this point in the spring. The big righty also worked in curves, sliders and changeups in his 33-pitch performance.

"My last game, I was trying to throw my breaking pitches, and I couldn't," Carrasco said. "My changeup was good today. My curveball, slider, everything felt fine."

Carrasco faced nine batters in the Minor League game, ending with three strikeouts, one walk and one hit batter in 1 2/3 innings. The righty allowed two hits, including an RBI double, in the first inning, which was shortened to two outs when Carrasco reached 20 pitches. He bounced back with a perfect 13-pitch second inning.

Barring any setbacks, Carrasco is scheduled to make his next Cactus League appearance on Friday. If the right-hander continues to progress without issues, there is still a chance he could slot in behind ace Corey Kluber as the Tribe's No. 2 start. Should the Indians feel Carrasco needs more time, the team does not technically need a fifth starter until April 15.

Carrasco said he is not looking that far ahead, yet.

"I know I feel comfortable. I feel ready," Carrasco said. "But, you know what? We still two weeks in Spring Training. I think I still have two more starts, but today was the main key. Everything feels fine, so I can't wait to get back in the games."

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.