Carrasco Gets Second Helping In Cleveland





CLEVELAND—His major league debut was a disaster.

In a late-2009 callup, righthander Carlos Carrasco  compiled a hefty 8.87 ERA in five starts, walking as many batters (11) as he managed to strike out.

It was not what the Indians were hoping for when they shipped Cliff Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco to the Phillies in a deadline deal that season.

But while Lee was driving toward becoming baseball's most sought-after free agent late in the 2010 season, the 23-year-old Carrasco quietly emerged as a legitimate contender for a job in the Indians' 2011 rotation.

"Carlos had a very productive year in Triple-A from a fundamental, mental and performance standpoint," farm director Ross Atkins said. "He took advantage of his 2010 Triple-A time, and in turn, transitioned his progress to the major leagues."

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Carrasco, who hails from Venezuela, spent a majority of the season at Triple-A Columbus. In 25 starts, he went 10-6, 3.65. Over 150 innings, Carrasco struck out 133 batters while walking 46.

"From the beginning of the season toward the end you could really see Carlos steadily settling into a regular routine," Clippers manager Mike Sarbaugh said. "And for pitchers, that's so important. (Pitching coach) Charlie Nagy kept Carlos on a day-to-day check of his mechanics, which helped tremendously as well."

So much, in fact, that the rebuilding Indians gave Carrasco another shot in Cleveland, and this time he did not disappoint. In seven games, he went 2-2, 3.83, striking out 38 while issuing 14 walks in 45 innings.

"Carlos' ability to control the running game, pitch deep into games and put a major league-caliber hitter away all improved last year," Atkins said. "We feel very good about Carlos being in the starting pitching mix for us in 2011."

SMOKE SIGNALS

• The Indians added five players to the 40-man roster: lefty Nick Hagadone, righthanders Josh Judy, Corey Kluber and Zach McAllister; and third baseman Jared Goedert.

• Playing third base in the Arizona Fall League, Cord Phelps rode a nine-game hitting streak, in which he hit .447 with three doubles and a home run, to finish the AFL season batting .367/.474/.557 in 79 at-bats.