DETROIT: The Indians are in no position to lose another starting pitcher to the disabled list, but maybe Zach McAllister’s sore right middle finger will give the club an opportunity to deal with Carlos Carrasco’s suspension.
McAllister was placed on the disabled list Saturday with a sprained finger, retroactive to last Monday. Carrasco was recalled from Triple-A Columbus to start against the Detroit Tigers Saturday, even though he has yet to serve an eight-game suspension imposed by Major League Baseball in April, when he hit Kevin Youkilis following a home run by Robinson Cano in a game against the New York Yankees.
Carrasco was optioned to Triple-A thereafter and has never dealt with the suspension. Because he has appealed the punishment, he is permitted to pitch until his appeal is heard or dropped.
Asked how the suspension might be handled, manager Terry Francona said, “Let’s get through today first.”
Trevor Bauer also was under consideration to be called up, rather than Carrasco.
“We talked about everybody,” Francona said. “Depending on how this works out, maybe we can knock out the suspension.”
Francona was cautious about setting a timetable for McAllister’s return.
“What they told me is two to four weeks,” he said. “But nobody can really know. When he’s ready, he’ll pitch.”
McAllister said he felt pain in his finger after his last start against the Tampa Bay Rays last Sunday. His next start was postponed until Saturday, but the finger didn’t respond to treatment.
“We didn’t want it to get any worse,” said McAllister, who spent one day in Cleveland getting an MRI scan.
“I don’t know how or when it happened or any of that,” he said. “But after my last game, it was a little swollen, so I let them know.”
Francona thinks the injury might be a result of the way McAllister has been gripping his curveball, a pitch he has difficulty throwing now that his finger hurts.
“We don’t want it to get worse,” Francona said. “He can pitch with it, but he’s young and it’s not fair. When he threw his curveball, I think that’s what aggravated it.”
Does that mean McAllister needs to change the way he grips on the pitch?
“I don’t think so,” Francona said. “I just think he’s been more aggressive with it [holding it tighter]. And the curveball might not be the whole reason [for the injury].”
His start against the Yankees was Carrasco’s only appearance in the big leagues this year. He was shelled for seven runs in 3⅔ innings.
At Columbus, Carrasco was 2-0 with a 3.21 ERA in nine starts and one relief appearance. He walked 14 and struck out 50 in 47⅔ innings.
The bright spot
The Tribe is neither pitching nor hitting well enough to break out of its losing streak, but the call-up of right-hander Matt Langwell from Columbus looks like a good move.
In his second big-league outing Saturday, Langwell delivered two strong innings against the Tigers, giving up no hits or walks and striking out three.
“It looks like Langwell has his feet on the ground and got the jitters out of the way,” Francona said. “What he did [today] is what he’s done his whole career.”
Langwell made a positive impression in spring training, pitching in eight games and giving up two earned runs in 9⅔ innings, walking two and striking out eight. He went on to make 20 appearances at Columbus, compiling a 2.30 ERA.
All-Star vote update
Mark Reynolds remained third in the voting for designated hitter, and Carlos Santana is still third in the vote for catcher, as the American League balloting for the All-Star Game continued.
Joe Mauer is the leading vote getter at catcher, and David Ortiz is first in the designated hitter balloting.
The road back
With Chris Perez being charged with misdemeanor drug (marijuana) possession, people have forgotten that he has begun a throwing program.
“He’s thrown [played catch] twice now, and he’s doing very well,” Francona said.
Perez has been on the disabled list with a sore shoulder since May 27 and is not expected to be out of action too much longer.
“Lonnie [head trainer Lonnie Soloff] says he should come quick now,” Francona said.
It has not been decided if Perez will go on a rehabilitation assignment.
“It might depend how long he’s been out,” Francona said.
Lonnie Chisenhall tripled and singled to raise his average to .400, as Columbus lost to Toledo 6-0. T.J. House (1-5, 5.91 ERA) gave up five runs and eight hits in six innings, walking seven.
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at email@example.com.