GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Carlos Carrasco’s exhibition debut Monday drew a positive review from manager Terry Francona.
The right-hander pitched two innings, allowing a disputed two-run home run to Texas’ Nomar Mazara in the opening inning of a 3-2 victory at Goodyear Ballpark.
It was the first time Carrasco was on the mound under game-like conditions since sustaining a broken finger on his pitching hand Sept. 17 on a line drive off the bat of Detroit’s Ian Kinsler that ended his season.
“It was nice to see him pitch,” Francona said. “I thought he stayed in his delivery and everything else. He left a fastball to Mazara that he hit a mile, might have been fair, might have been foul, which four months from now nobody will care about. But I thought it was good to see him out there. It’s a good first step.
“Anytime you see your pitchers, especially your starters, going out there and looking healthy, using their fastball, that’s really the biggest goal early.”
Francona said the team has no concerns that last year’s season-ending injury will affect Carrasco this year.
“He had a broken finger. This wasn’t like it was an elbow or things like that,” he said. “Once that thing healed, he’s fine. He’s actually going to get more innings than anyone this spring, just ’cause he hasn’t pitched for a while.”
Carrasco told reporters Monday that he was looking forward to the increased workload this spring.
“He loves to pitch. I don’t blame him,” Francona said. “If I was that big and strong and had his pitches, I would like to, too. You don’t have a crystal ball, but he is built to log innings. He’s big, strong, he has a good delivery and he’s good enough to stay out there. That’s really important.
“Somehow or another you’ve got to account for 1,000 innings from your starters and when you think you’ve got a guy that’s built to log his 200, that really does help.”
The Indians will not go unbeaten during Cactus League play. They dropped their first exhibition game Tuesday as the A’s rallied to win 5-4 at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa. Cleveland entered the day 2-0-1.
Right-hander Mike Clevinger made his first start, allowing a two-run home run to Marcus Semien in his only inning of work. Left-hander Andrew Miller made his second appearance of the spring and also allowed a homer to Trevor Plouffe in the third.
Chris Colabello, who is vying to win a roster spot as an extra outfielder, hit a game-tying two-run homer in the seventh.
Former Indians outfielder Rajai Davis started in center and hit leadoff for Oakland, going 1-for-3. Like fellow veteran Mike Napoli, Davis made a significant impact in his one and only season in Cleveland last year, leading the American League in stolen bases (43) at the age of 35.
“A lot of times when you sign a guy and you hope that this is what he’ll be, in some area maybe it falls short. It’s just kind of the way it is,” Francona said. “But I mean, he managed to lead the league in stolen bases without every-day at-bats. He played center field, he played left field. He even went out to right field a handful of times.
“I think the thing I remember most when I think about Raj is that whenever he was on first base, whether he was pinch running, day game after night game, he was ready to run. He did a really good job of not just being fast, but being a good baserunner, and it helped us a ton, and we will miss that aspect.”
Francona said Michael Brantley emerged fine from his first on-field batting practice experience Monday. Still, there is no target date for the left fielder to make his first exhibition appearance.
“This year, just like last year, he has milestones that he has to accomplish and move on to the next phase, and there really isn’t a timetable on any of them,” Francona said. “It’s just when he does it to the medical people’s satisfaction, he moves on. By the time you get to game action, it’s pretty significant what he’s going through. He’s doing everything in his power to get healthy and that’s really all you can ask for.”
- Francona said he expected outfielder Brandon Guyer (hamstring) to make his exhibition debut this weekend.
- Longtime radio play-by-play man Tom Hamilton will call his first game today.
- Today, 3:05 p.m. vs. Mariners at Goodyear Ballpark. No television. WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM. Trevor Bauer (debut) vs. Drew Smyly (debut).