D.J. Carrasco’s bid to lock up a spot in the middle of the bullpen took a small hit in his first action of the spring on Monday.
Carrasco gave up two runs on four hits and a walk over two innings, and the final line could have been worse had Mike Nickeas not bailed him out with a fine throw to nail a baserunner at third base.
The 6’4” right-hander doesn’t have swing-and-miss stuff and he won’t overpower hitters. He had 157 strikeouts in 210.1 innings since 2008 and he relies on his defense to make plays behind him.
If he expects to be a regular seventh-inning man, his lack of a dominant pitch could work against him. The one thing he does have to his advantage is that if he is only working one inning at a time, hitters may not be able to get a good luck at the ball coming out of his hand.
Against the Nationals on Monday in Port St. Lucie, Carrasco threw a slider out of a couple different arm slots giving anything from 81 to 84 and a fastball that hit 89 on the gun. He also threw a changeup in the high 60s. Although I’d like to see him use this more the next time out.
Right now, I still have Carrasco making the 25-man roster, although he is walking a tightrope after the first weekend of camp. Both Pedro Beato and Taylor Buchholz looked pretty sharp in their first appearances and even guys like Pat Misch are in the equation.
Carrasco gave up a run on two hits and an error in the fourth inning and then a second run on two hits and a walk in the fifth. In both innings, he gave up a leadoff double that got him into trouble.
He gave up a leadoff double to Wilson Ramos on his first pitch of his outing and he then tossed the ball into shallow centerfield trying to keep Ramos close at second.
Ramos scored from third on Kevin Barker’s check swing that trickled down the first base line. Daniel Murphy barehanded the ball but his throw was slightly too high and Nickeas didn’t have a chance to slap the tag down.
Danny Espinosa then reached on a bunt single, but Jerry Hairston Jr. grounded into a force out at second when he was way ahead of the changeup. The 33-year-old got out of the inning with a 4-6-3 double play to double up the speedy Nyjer Morgan.
In his second inning of work, Ian Desmond doubled off the glove on Russ Adams, an infielder playing in right field, and Matt Stairs drove him home after Roger Bernadina walked.
In his six seasons in the majors, Carrasco is 23-18 with a 4.31 ERA. He split 2010 between Pittsburgh and Arizona, appearing in 63 games and posting a respectable 3.18 ERA.