By Sheldon Ocker
Beacon Journal sports writer
CLEVELAND: Carlos Carrasco joined the Indians from Columbus on Friday, but it’s not clear how long he will remain or if there’s a long term role for him.
After giving up four runs in 2⅔ innings in the Tribe’s 10-3 loss to the Tigers on Thursday night, Preston Guilmet was optioned back to Triple-A.
“This is Carlos’ day to pitch,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “With Guilmet pitching as long as he did, he was unavailable tonight. So if we get into extra innings, we have a guy who is completely stretched out.”
At Columbus, Carrasco was 3-1 with a 3.14 ERA in 14 starts. He also pitched twice out of the bullpen and has one save to his credit.
At times, Carrasco has been dominating at the Triple-A level, but he has struggled in three stints with the Tribe this year, posting a 0-4 record and 9.10 ERA in six starts.
Calling up Carrasco and assigning him to the bullpen doesn’t mean the Indians’ deep thinkers believe that he needs to change his career path from starter to reliever.
“I can see him being a really good starter,” Francona said. “He has the kind of arm that would allow him to do about anything. His arm is electric.”
Carrasco gives the Indians eight relievers, a comfortable number for Francona. Because of the versatility of reserves Mike Aviles and Ryan Raburn, Francona can afford to keep an extra pitcher in the bullpen.
Asked if he would prefer to have eight relievers, Francona said, “Probably. But it can change day to day. For the most part, that’s been the best way for us to win games.”
That does not mean Carrasco will stay on the big-league roster. It could be that he was summoned from the Clippers for only a day or two because he was rested and ready to pitch in the event that a starter leaves early or because a game goes extra innings.
It would be of little benefit to Carrasco or the team for him to wait around for a long relief opportunity. Other than describing Carrasco’s role for Friday night, Francona was vague about how he would be used.
Maybe that’s because he will be heading back to Columbus shortly. To replace him, the Tribe might call up Blake Wood (0.93 ERA, 8⅔ innings pitched), who was optioned to Triple-A after his recovery from elbow reconstruction surgery last year, or maybe Vinnie Pestano, who has pitched four times without allowing a hit or run in 5⅓ innings.
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.