Francona maintains Youk hit-by-pitch unintentional

Francona maintains Youk hit-by-pitch unintentional

CLEVELAND -- The Indians understand that it looked bad, and might have been viewed as intentional by many viewers, but Cleveland manager Terry Francona insists that he believes that Carlos Carrasco did not hit Yankees third baseman Kevin Youkilis with a pitch on purpose Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, when Francona informed Carrasco that he had been optioned to to Triple-A Columbus, the manager did not feel the need to revisit Tuesday's incident. What Francona is hoping now is that Major League Baseball does not issue a suspension for the right-handed starter.

"I hope not," Francona said. "Again, I know how it looked. But I also know what he told me and I believe him. I know the league has to do their thing, and I fully respect that, but I think that the league's pretty good about listening. I know they have a job to do, too."

Carrasco, who recently finished serving a five-game suspension for a similar incident that dated back to July 2011 (the pitcher missed the rest of that season and all of last year with an elbow injury), explained that he slipped on the mound on the pitch that struck Youkilis in the back of the left shoulder. On the previous pitch, Carrasco had given up a two-run home run to Robinson Cano.

Home-plate umpire Jordan Baker ejected Carrasco, who allowed seven runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings in the loss.

"I believe he slipped last night," Francona said. "That wasn't Kevin Youkilis' fault. I don't buy into [throwing at players]. The game has a way of taking care of itself sometimes when it needs to, but that's not what happened last night, and I fully believe that. Nobody on their team needed to be hit, and nobody got hit intentionally."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.