NEW YORK -- The last time Carlos Carrasco was inside Yankee Stadium, the Indians pitcher was in the midst of one of the strongest stretches of his career. A little more than a year ago, Carrasco spun seven shutout innings in an impressive display against the Yankees.
On Tuesday, Carrasco was back at the Stadium, testing his surgically repaired right arm during a 60-pitch bullpen session. For Carrasco, who is working his way back from Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow, that June 13 taming of the Bombers last year feels like ancient history.
"I'll be excited to play again," Carrasco said. "It's a big difference right now. I just do rehab and I think about how one year ago I played with the team. It's a big difference, but that's part of my life. I just do my rehab, and hopefully I'll come back this year."
If everything goes according to plan, the 25-year-old Carrasco will indeed return to Minor League games before the end of this season. Indians manager Manny Acta said, however, that Carrasco is not in Cleveland's plans until 2013.
"It's encouraging to see him throw in the bullpen," Acta said. "Man, I guess doctors do wonders nowadays. He was very upbeat himself. He feels good. We feel good. I just talked to him and told him to be patient and just continue to follow the rehab program. We're looking forward to seeing him next year competing up here."
Last season, Carrasco went 8-9 with a 4.62 ERA in 21 starts for the Indians, but he posted a 7.92 ERA in the six starts leading up to the elbow injury on Aug. 3. Prior to that brutal six-outing stretch, the right-hander had fashioned a 0.98 ERA over five June starts, including the strong effort in the Bronx.
Carrasco's mound session on Tuesday marked the 14th such workout in his throwing progression. He is currently limited to throwing only fastballs but noted that he should be able to resume mixing in changeups within the next few weeks. Carrasco said he hopes to begin a Minor League rehab in two months.
On Monday, Carrasco had a meeting in New York with Dr. David Altchek, who performed the surgery on the pitcher last Sept. 21. The exam went well and left Carrasco optimistic about his chances of making a successful comeback.
"I want to," Carrasco said. "It depends on my rehab. You never know. We'll see. Right now, everything is OK. We'll see what happens in two months."