TEMPE, Ariz. -- Carlos Carrasco did not hit all the high notes in his final audition for the last spot in the Indians' rotation. In fact, Carrasco's start against the Angels on Sunday afternoon at Tempe Diablo Stadium was the Spring Training equivalent of a squeaky voice. He broke the No. 1 rule impressed upon Tribe pitchers in camp -- pound the strike zone. Carrasco, acquired in last year's Cliff Lee trade, was charged with five runs on four hits with seven strikeouts over 3 2/3 innings. What hurt him most were the six walks he issued.
That won't help Carrasco's cause in trying to beat out left-hander David Huff for the job. "I lost control of the ball a little bit," Carrasco said. "The last inning, my two-seam was going straight and my four-seam was sinking." The last inning was what killed Carrasco. He walked three batters and gave up three runs that inning before leaving with the bases loaded. Farmhand Carlton Smith came on and let one of the inherited runners score. "He threw the ball well early," manager Manny Acta said of Carrasco. "Then he had trouble controlling his fastball." Carrasco, who struggled mightily in his first exposure to the big leagues last September, admitted he felt the pressure to perform Sunday, and it got the best of him.
"Sometimes we start thinking too much about that part of the game," he said. "I tried to do the best I can." What does this ugly outing mean for the 23-year-old Carrasco? That will be decided after Huff's outing against the White Sox on Wednesday. The Indians' coaches and front-office staff will huddle up after that game and make all their remaining roster decisions, with an announcement coming Thursday. Carrasco, who has a 4.60 ERA in four spring appearances, knows he didn't do himself any favors on this day. But he also knows he came into camp all-but-ticketed for Triple-A Columbus. That he has made it this far in consideration for a starting job is a credit to how solid he looked in his previous two outings against the Rockies and Brewers. "If I go to Columbus, I'm going to do my job over there," he said. "I'll do my work and wait for them to call my name. Once you get to the big leagues, you never want to go back [to the Minors]." Regardless of Carrasco's immediate fate, Acta believes the youngster has a bright future in the bigs. "This guy has the stuff to be a top-of-the-rotation type of guy, depending on his development," Acta said. "He's got overpowering stuff when he's right."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.