Carrasco to get rotation turn against Yankees

Carrasco to get rotation turn against Yankees

CINCINNATI -- Carlos Carrasco has resided in the Indians' bullpen for the bulk of this season, but the right-hander still views himself as a starter in the long run. Come Sunday, Carrasco will get another chance to step in as a member of the rotation.

"Today, they told me I'm going to start," Carrasco said prior to Thursday's game against the Reds. "So, they gave me another opportunity to do it."

Manager Terry Francona said that a variety of factors led to the decision to send Carrasco to the mound to start on the road Sunday against the Yankees. Two were that the righty logged 59 pitches in his most recent relief outing on Tuesday and the Indians have a scheduled off-day on Monday.

If Carrasco struggles or begins to fight fatigue, Francona should be able to have plenty of bullpen arms -- including former starter Josh Tomlin -- ready to pick up the slack.

"I just think he's in a good position to go ahead and do this," Francona said. "You try to combine letting him get in there, still winning and not burning the bullpen. I think we're probably in a situation where we can hopefully accomplish all of them."

Carrasco began the season in Cleveland's rotation, but he went 0-3 with a 6.95 ERA in four starts before being relegated to relief work. Since then, the right-hander has turned in a 2.30 ERA to go along with a .217 opponents' average, 39 strikeouts and nine walks through 43 innings out of the bullpen.

Francona said a key for Carrasco has been establishing a solid routine, which he will not change in the days leading up to Sunday's start. The manager was also not willing to promise anything to Carrasco beyond the upcoming outing in New York.

"We just told him to go pitch on Sunday," Francona said. "Because we have days off [on Monday, Aug. 14 and Aug. 18], we don't quite know what we're doing with everything."

Before Thursday's game in Cincinnati, the Indians optioned right-handed starter Danny Salazar to Triple-A Columbus and recalled righty reliever C.C. Lee to give the bullpen an extra arm. Salazar is scheduled to make one start in the Minors before rejoining Cleveland later this month.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.