Carlos Carrasco, Josh Donaldson Named 2019 MLB Comeback Players of the Year

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst IIIDecember 4, 2019

FILE - In this Sept. 20, 2019, file photo, Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Carlos Carrasco pumps his fist after the Indians defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 5-2 in a baseball game in Cleveland. Carrasco was selected as the 2019 Roberto Clemente Award winner, given annually by Major League Baseball to honor sportsmanship and community involvement, the league announced Friday, Oct. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

MLB announced Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco as the American League Comeback Player of the Year and Atlanta Braves third baseman Josh Donaldson the National League Comeback Player of the Year for the 2019 season. 

On July 6, Carrasco disclosed he had been diagnosed with leukemia in May:

He returned to the field in September, appearing in 11 games over the final month of the season.

Carrasco penned an emotional article for The Players' Tribune on Sept. 27 detailing his leukemia diagnosis, treatment and return. In it, he described the moment he told his Cleveland teammates: 

"When they got the news, the whole room went silent.

"It was the quietest I've ever heard our clubhouse. No one said anything. It seemed like no one even moved or made a sound with their shoes or coughed or anything. It was just complete silence. I said a few words about coming back stronger than ever, and then our trainer finished with some more details about my treatment.

"As soon as I was done talking, Francisco Lindor walked right over to me. 'You're not alone in this,' he said."

Carrasco returned to the mound on Sept. 1 and was given a standing ovation by the opposing Tampa Bay Rays crowd at Tropicana Field. The 32-year-old right-hander pitched one inning, giving up two hits and allowing one run. 

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Overall in 2019, Carrasco went 6-7 with a 5.29 ERA across 12 starts. 

Donaldson, meanwhile, appeared in 155 games for the Braves in 2019 after his 2018 campaign was limited to 52 games due to right shoulder inflammation and a calf injury.

Donaldson put together a stellar 2019 campaign with 37 home runs, 94 RBI on a .259/.379/.521 slash line following his injury-riddled 2018 . He played as well as he had since winning the AL MVP in 2015 as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Donaldson's performance put him in position to reject the Braves' qualifying offer and test free agency. Atlanta general manager Alex Anthopoulos has made it clear that the team, which Donaldson grew up cheering for, would prefer to bring Donaldson back. The three-time All-Star will be much more expensive this time around.

The Indians don't have to worry about retaining their Comeback Player of the Year, as Carrasco is locked in through 2023.

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