Here’s Friday’s pre-game Q & A with Indians GM Chris Antonetti:
Q) Talk about (RHP) Carlos (Carrasco’s) 8-game suspension handed down Friday afternoon:
A) On some level, we appreciate the process that (MLB’s executive VP of Baseball Operations) Joe Torre and (senior VP of standards & on-field operations) Joe Garagiola worked through to arrive at their decision. Ultimately, it will be up to Carlos to decide how he wants to handle it from this point, whether or not he chooses to appeal. From a team perspective, we obviously worked pretty hard to have his prior suspension not be an issue. And obviously, when he returns at the Major League level, we’ll have to deal with it again.
Q) Does it create a situation where September would be the most likely timetable for Carrasco’s return to the Indians? That way you can carry him (without counting towards the 25-man roster total) and try to navigate around the suspension again?
A) September would be the easiest time to resolve it, but I wouldn’t say that it precludes us from calling him up again. But (calling him up prior to September) would just make it more challenging.
Q) How disappointing is the suspension to have to deal with a second time?
A) As I said, on a team level, it’s challenging because we worked at the outset of the season to his past suspension behind him. Now, it looks like we’ll have to deal with it again at some point later this year.
Q) Were you angry with Carrasco?
A) No. I mean, Carlos is very adamant that it wasn’t intentional. And he’s been consistent with that from the time it happened after the game with (Indians manager) Terry (Francona) individually. He was the same with me as well. Ultimately, he’ll have the opportunity to have others his case as well and hear how remorseful he is for it.
Q) Is he going to appeal, then?
A) We just got the decision a little while ago. I have not yet spoken with Carlos. I imagine that will though, in the next couple days.
Q) You guys present his side of the case, that’s how it works, right?
A) It’s not that formal. Terry had the opportunity to speak with Joe Torre. I talked with Joe Garagiola. And we passed along the information we had.
Q) Did you send a video to show your side?
A) We were all looking at the same video, so they saw the same thing we did.
Q) Was there any concern that since he six (games) suspended the first time, that this one would be longer and more severe?
A) We knew that was possible because of how it looked and the optics of it appeared. Again, I think Carlos has been very consistent that it wasn’t intentional. He was accountable for how it looked. He said, ‘I realize it looks bad. But I can assure you it wasn’t intentional.’ ”
Q) How much of a setback is this in terms of how much you hoped he could help the organization this year?
A) The most important thing for Carlos is him getting back to a point - just from a pitching standpoint – where he can help us at the Major League level. We feel he’s very close to doing that. I think we saw some signs of it, despite the results in the outing. We saw that he was healthy, his fastball had great life to it and at times he demonstrated quality secondary stuff. So we think he’s close. Our focus is on helping him get back to being a Major League option for us. And when he gets back to that point, we’ll look to him as a Major League option and know we’ll likely have to deal with getting the suspension behind us.”
Q) So you’re not ruling out calling him up before September id he merits it during the season?
A) No, we’re not ruling it out.
Q) How tricky would it be though to work around the suspension if you call him up before September?
A) It will be something we have to manage. Anytime you’re dealing with a suspended player, you’re effectively playing with a 24-man roster instead of with a 25-man roster. So that, by definition, makes it a little more challenging for us. But other teams have dealt with it in the past. We’ve obviously dealt with it already this year.
Q) Are you concerned about his reputation in the league right now?
A) I’m not really focused on that. I don’t think Carlos is either. What’s important for him is getting back to being the pitcher we all know he’s capable of being. He as an unbelievable amount of potential and he’s going to be a successful Major League pitcher. So, as long as we work with him to get him back to that point, we don’t need to concern ourselves with the other issues.
Q) On another note, how happy are you to finally be able to get (veteran slugger Jason) Giambi out on the field and off the bench?
A) It’s great to have Jason active. He’s made a huge impact on our team in the time he’s been here, even when he wasn’t on the field. We’re excited to now actually have him back active on the roster so he can go make an impact on the field in addition to off the field.”
Q) Does a player get to talk to MLB board during the process?
A) During the appeal process, he will. Up until now, no.
Q) Do they explain it to you or just tell you he’s suspended?
A) We’ve talked through that. Again, both Tito talked to Joe Torre and I talked to Joe Garagiola and they walked through some of their thought process on it. And ultimately, they’re the ones who make the decision and take in all the information they have and do what they think is best.
Q) Can you share any part of that?
A) I’d prefer not to go into the details of that.