The Cleveland Indians pitching staff was dealt yet another blow over the weekend. Its second starter in the rotation, Carlos Carrasco, was hit on his pitching elbow by a line drive in Saturday’s start. Carrasco threw 39 pitches and allowed four runs over just 1.1 innings.
It was then wondered what the prognosis on Carrasco’s elbow would be. Cleveland announced that there was no structural damage to it, and that the started would be reevaluated later in the week.
Francona: All tests on Carrasco’s right elbow came back negative for any structural damage. Treatment next three days. Re-evaluated Wednesday.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) June 18, 2018
So, as of now, it seems the Indians have dodged a bullet, but what does this mean in the short and long term for the AL Central leaders?
For the short term ramifications, the Indians placed Carrasco on the 10 day DL. There was swelling and bruising on his right elbow and was taken to the hospital after it happened to get x-rays, which came back negative.
He will miss likely two starts, and there is a chance he misses more time, too. With the Venezuelan missing time, that would mean that Adam Plutko and Shane Bieber will get a chance or two to prove themselves further after successful showings in their first few MLB appearances. Plutko was moved to the bullpen, so it seems that Bieber would be the guy to get starts in place of Carrasco.
These starts/ appearances by Plutko and Bieber could be important for the Indians in the coming months as the trade deadline quickly approaches. As the Indians will look for ways to improve their roster heading into the second half of the season, Plutko and/ or Bieber’s name could be thrown around in trade talks and could even be moved. They both have major league experience and could provide another team with some back end of the rotation help or develop further in the minors until they are ready to be a regular starter in the MLB.
There are not many long term effects of this injury. The only way this becomes a long term issue is if the effects still linger when Carrasco returns from the DL. Once he is throwing again and then off the DL, it will be critical for Carrasco himself and the ball club as a whole that he comes back healthy. If he is rushed back and comes back too early, then re-aggregates his elbow and has to go on the DL, that is something that cannot be afforded.
This incident was not the first time the right- hander has gotten hit by a line drive- he got hit late in the 2016 season and it cost him pitching in the postseason- but hopefully it will be the last.