Indians righthander Carlos Carrasco is close to earning a spot in the Cleveland rotation, having gone 8-4, 3.98 at Triple-A Columbus this season. His stuff Tuesday night at Durham was as firm as it has been all season—a fastball sitting in the 94-96 mph range, an 85-87 mph changeup with depth and an improved slider with better depth at 82-84 mph.
"That was the best he's thrown really all year," Indians farm director Ross Atkins said Wednesday.
So the organization was holding its collective breath when Carrasco had to leave the start after just 3 1/3 innings after throwing a 1-2 pitch to Bulls cleanup hitter Dan Johnson. Carrasco walked off the mound and wound up pointing to his forearm while walking to the dugout. But Atkins and Columbus manager Mike Sarbaugh said the initial diagnosis is just cramping, and that the pain was on the outside of his forearm, a positive sign. Atkins said if the initial diagnosis is correct, Carrasco may not even miss a start.
"Our trainer (Jeff Desjardins) thought he was a little dehydrated," Sarbaugh said Wednesday morning. "Carlos might have been a little worried about it because he thought it could be serious, but hopefully, right now it seems like it's not."
Sarbaugh concurred with Atkins' assessment that Carrasco's stuff was at its best, as he'd struck out five and allowed just two hits before leaving the game.
"He had good life on his fastball, and his offspeed had good depth," Sarbaugh said. "The biggest things for me with Carlos has been the development of his slider and working inside with the fastball, which he was able to do last night. That would really open up the outer half for him."
Durham wound up winning 7-0 by getting 11 hits and seven runs off reliever Jeremy Sowers over the final three innings.
Around The Minors
• Don't look now, but Jesus Montero has started reminding people why he's one of the best hitting prospects in the minors. Maybe it was the jolt of almost being traded. More likely, it's simply a matter of a talented player catching up to challenging league. The 20-year-old catcher went deep twice last night for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and he's homered four times since the Yankees nearly packaged him to Seattle for Cliff Lee. The righthanded-swinging Montero sent both of his homers well over the fence in right-center field against Gwinnett's Todd Redmond, giving him 10 for the season. Since Montero's average sunk to .216 on June 10, he's hitting .350/.417/.650 with seven homers in 123 at-bats.
• Cubs righthander Trey McNutt had to be removed in the second inning of his start for high Class A Daytona Tuesday night. The 20-year-old opened up a blister on his pitching hand after giving up a two-out double to Charlotte second baseman Anthony Scelfo. McNutt was making his fifth start for Daytona since being promoted from low Class A Peoria, where he went 6-0, 1.51 in 59 2/3 innings. He'd continued pitching well at Daytona, where he'd allowed only five earned runs over his previous 16 1/3 innings heading into Tuesday.
• Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas slugged his first Triple-A home run last night in Memphis. The blast was his 22nd of the year—tied for seventh in the minors—after he'd hit 21 long balls before being promoted from Double-A Northwest Arkansas last week. The 21-year-old is off to a .174/.208/.348 (4-for-23) start in six games with Triple-A Omaha and is hitting .333/.398/.660 combined between his two stops.
• Power isn't Jason Kipnis' best tool, but the Indians second baseman tapped into some last night. The 23-year-old second baseman homered twice in Double-A Akron's game with Altoona, putting together his sixth consecutive multi-hit game in the process. Kipnis upped his home run count for the year to 12—six at Akron and six at high Class A Kinston, where he began the year—and is hitting .338/.416/.551 in 136 at-bats since putting on an Aeros uniform.
• The Royals aggressively sent 17-year-old third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert to Rookie-level Idaho Falls, their top short-season affiliate. Cuthbert, who just signed last year out of Nicaragua for $1.35 million, hit .265/.342/.412 in 68 at-bats in the Rookie-level Arizona League before getting moved up this week. He's the youngest player to appear in the Pioneer League this year, but he hasn't been in over his head against older competition so far. He homered in his first game for the Chukars on Monday, then went 2-for-5 with a double last night.
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