Indians' Carrasco suffers only bruise on scary comebacker
By TOM WITHERS
CLEVELAND (AP) The Indians caught a lucky break. Carlos Carrasco is only bruised.
An MRI taken Monday revealed that Cleveland's steady starter only suffered a bruised right elbow when he was struck by a vicious line drive on Saturday against Minnesota.
"We dodged a huge bullet," said relieved Indians manager Terry Francona.
Carrasco, who has previously sustained serious injuries after being hit by comebackers, will be treated for swelling over the next 48 hours before being evaluated on Wednesday.
At this point, it's expected that Carrasco will return to the rotation and mound once his stint on the disabled list ends.
"He still got hit really hard and there's some trauma," Francona said before the Indians opened a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox. "The hope would be, once he gets the swelling out of there, that he'll come quick because it's a bruise and it could have been a lot worse."
In the second inning on Saturday, Twins star Joe Mauer hit a line drive that Carrasco couldn't avoid. The 31-year-old, who has been one of the AL's most consistent pitchers the past three seasons, braced himself before absorbing the liner. He was forced to leave the game and taken to the hospital.
Carrrasco has a history of being hit on the mound. He was struck in the face in 2015 and then missed the 2016 playoffs after breaking his hand, a blow that left the Indians short one of their top pitchers during their run to the World Series.
But despite Carrasco's track record of being a target, Francona isn't worried about the 31-year-old showing any jitters when he pitches.
"He's been hit before and you think, `OK will it bother him?'" Francona said. "He's been hit before so I think he's champing at the bit to get this out of there and start pitching again. It's easy to tell him, `Hey, don't worry about it.' I'm not the one standing out there.
"This is fourth time, and I've never seen any ill effects before and I don't anticipate any going forward. I think he's just glad that it's a bruise and see how quick he can get better."
Francona chalked up Carrasco's mound misfortune to bad luck.
"I do think there are pitchers that put themselves in a position where they are not able to field their position, but Carlos is fine," Francona said. "He lands flat and he's in a really good position, most of the time. The fact that he could get his hand up and kind of block it and not hit somewhere else."
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Updated June 18, 2018