"That's probably the way it's going to work out," Indians manager Manny Acta said on Thursday at U.S. Cellular Field, "just because of the timing of everything."
Carrasco, who is currently on the 15-day DL with inflammation in his right elbow, is scheduled to serve a six-game suspension upon activation. By waiting until Sept. 1, when rosters expand, Cleveland can keep its current rotation intact and provide Carrasco with more time to rest his arm.
As things stand at the moment, the Tribe's starting staff includes Ubaldo Jimenez, Fausto Carmona, Justin Masterson, Josh Tomlin and David Huff. Huff would need to be optioned to the Minors if Carrasco were to rejoin the rotation prior to Sept. 1. However, by waiting until then, the Indians would not need to remove Huff from the roster.
If Huff (1-1 with a 0.51 ERA through four appearances) continues to provide the Tribe with a solid left-handed option, there is a good chance he will remain in the rotation upon Carrasco's return. Under that scenario, Carrasco would likely be put into the bullpen as a long reliever and spot starter.
Acta acknowledged that possibility on Thursday.
"If Huff continues to pitch well," Acta said, "Carrasco could come back in the bullpen."
Carrasco opened the season as the Indians' No. 2 starter and has gone 8-9 with a 4.62 ERA in 21 starts this season. The pitcher has also had two stints on the DL with the same elbow injury. In his last outing on Aug. 3, Carrasco gave up three runs on nine hits in seven innings on the road against the Red Sox.