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Indians' Carlos Carrasco Throws 1st Batting Practice Since Leukemia Diagnosis

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorAugust 17, 2019

CLEVELAND, OHIO - MAY 25: Starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco #59 of the Cleveland Indians pitches during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Progressive Field on May 25, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco threw batting practice Friday for the first time since being diagnosed with leukemia in June, according to Kevin Freeman of Fox 8 Cleveland.

Reporter David S. Glasier provided footage of Carrasco's session:

David S. Glasier @nhglasier

Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco throws to Lake County Captain batters at Classic Park on Aug. 16. https://t.co/QnUSCv25wM

Per Freeman, Carrasco threw "light batting practice" to members of the Single-A Lake County Captains. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com wrote that he threw about 25 pitches.

Indians manager Terry Francona made remarks after the batting practice:

"It's a huge boost to him, Francona said. "And because of that, because we care so much about him...even if this is all he did the rest of the year, you could see how excited he was to do it, that gives us a lift in itself. If it gets to the point that he comes back and helps us pitching, great. But just the fact that he's on the mound and you see him smiling, that's good in itself."

The session marked the first time since Carrasco's diagnosis that he threw to live batters but not his first time back to the mound. Of note, the 32-year-old has also thrown three bullpen sessions, with SportsTime Ohio featuring a Wednesday round.

SportsTime Ohio @SportsTimeOhio

.@Indians starting rotation updates! Carlos Carrasco took part in a bullpen session earlier. @DreKnott gives us an update on Cookie. https://t.co/2gNRy9XJfk

Carrasco also spoke with Freeman on Friday.

"It’s hard, but I think the reality is I have to wait, I have to wait for, I wish I could make those decisions, but it’s not the staff and the trainer, so tomorrow we gonna go talking about how I feel and then we go from there," Carrasco told Freeman.

Carrasco has received a tremendous amount of support following the announcement. Of note, he received a standing ovation at the 2019 All-Star Game, which was held at the Progressive Field in Cleveland, during the "Stand Up to Cancer" presentation per James Rapien of 92.3 The Fan:

James Rapien @JamesRapien

Carlos Carrasco gets a huge ovation during the Stand Up to Cancer presentation, with his All-Star teammates by his side https://t.co/QxwdIZIdOd

“It’s been unbelievable, you know, just when I went to the All-Star Game to how those fans, the people and my teammates and my family, the community, the fans just support me, it’s great. I know I have some good company in there, so every time when I go out or even in my social media, it’s a lot, they pay attention to everything and I have a big support here."

Carrasco is aiming to return this season and hopes to make the playoff roster, per Freeman. Cleveland is currently first in the American League wild-card race with a 71-50 record and just 1.5 games back of the Minnesota Twins for the AL Central crown.

The right-hander can certainly be an asset if he's anything close to his form over the past five seasons, even if he's coming out of the bullpen. Carrasco went 68-43 with a 3.27 ERA and a 10.1 strikeout-per-nine rate from 2014-2018. 

As for what's immediately next, Zack Meisel of The Athletic reported that Carrasco will be "re-evaluated to determine his next step" following the bullpen session.