AKRON, Ohio – When Cleveland Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco came out from the bullpen at Canal Park on Monday night, fans gave him a standing ovation.
Carrasco made his first rehab appearance with the Akron RubberDucks in a 7-4 loss to the Harrisburg Senators, the Washington Nationals’ Class AA affiliate.
His first pitch clocked in at 97 mph, and while he was nervous before he came in, he said his angst went away after that first pitch. He finished with 16 pitches, one strikeout and one walk in his one inning.
In July, Carrasco announced he had been diagnosed with leukemia. His last major league appearance was May 30, when the Indians lost 10-4 against the Chicago White Sox. Last Friday, Carrasco threw a live batting practice session with the Lake County Captains, the Indians’ Class A affiliate.
“It feels great because those people (were) the ones behind me the whole way from day one to now,” Carrasco said of the fans in Akron.
Carrasco said during his time away from baseball he’s thrown “maybe three or four bullpens.” When he saw his first pitch clocked in so high, he was excited.
“Right away I looked back to the scoreboard because I just wanted to find out what was that pitch, and it was 97,” Carrasco said. “It feels great.”
After the game, Carrasco was upbeat and positive, happy to be back on the mound.
“It was really special today,” Carrasco said. “Spent 2 1/2 months away from baseball. Just coming back today out of the bullpen, it feels great.”
Carrasco said his treatment will continue, and he’s eager to get back to playing. He is expected to have his second rehab appearance with the RubberDucks on Thursday against the Richmond Flying Squirrels, the San Francisco Giants’ Class AA affiliate. Carrasco said for now he expects to throw one inning.