GOODYEAR, Ariz.: Carlos Carrasco threw batting practice during Saturday’s morning workout and is still working out the kinks with his delivery that was revamped during the offseason.
“I think my first couple pitches felt a little bit weird with my new mechanics,” said the right-handed starter who is looking to claim the vacant fifth spot in the Indians’ rotation. “But in the end, I [found] the tempo and everything slowed down a little bit and it started working really good.”
Despite his initial delay being able to locate the strike zone using his new mechanics motion, Carrasco said the adjustment has been rather “easy” overall.
“I’m breaking my hands [apart] early so everything is on top now,” he said. “I think the more important thing is I need to find the [strike] zone. That’s what I needed today a little bit when I started. … To be honest, I don’t feel today that I showed [the Tribe brass] what I could do. I didn’t feel very good today. But I have one more live BP to do my best and then as soon the games start, it’s going to be more easy.”
After watching Carrasco’s throwing session, Indians manager Terry Francona was happy with the progress the embattled starter has made.
“He looks very strong and I like his delivery adjustments,” Francona said. “It’s just now a matter of him settling in and taking what he has into competition. He is ready to pitch and do well. His body’s strong, he’s got all his pitches now, he just has to go and compete.”
During last season’s struggles, Carrasco was a markedly better pitcher out of the bullpen (1-0 with a 1.32 ERA in eight appearances) than he was as a starter (0-4 with a 9.00 ERA over seven starts).
In a nod to understanding that a lot of his success pitching out of the bullpen had to do with adjusting his mental approach, Carrasco is reading H.A. Dorfman’s popular book, “The Mental ABC’s of Pitching.”
Dorfman, who served as an instructor/counselor with the Oakland A’s, Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays, wrote the “A-to-Z handbook” to provide insight on how to pitch at peak performance. Amazon.com calls the read “perfect for pitchers who need that extra edge or hitters who want to better understand the mental moves on the mound.”
“I just went on the Internet and bought it and started reading it last night,” Carrasco said. “So far, I like it.”
Major League Baseball executive Joe Torre announced that each of the organization’s 30 clubs will have five games to use the new expanded instant replay rule during spring training.
“We have our session to go over [Tuesday],” Francona said of he and three Indians front office members who will travel to nearby Peoria for a mandatory clinic. “I think it’s the mechanical part of it. There will be another session in March, trying to walk us through things. Not just the technology, but how the rule’s gonna work. That’ll ease some anxiety for a lot of us.”
The expected decision regarding another rule change for the 2014 season — banning home plate collisions — was not announced this week.
“I know they’re having some trouble with the language [of the rule],” Francona said. “Then they have to take it to the player’s association. So, there’s some hoops to jump through.”
Adjusting on the fly
After spending a majority of the first week of team workouts splitting the players up into groups of four, the Indians broke up into six groups Saturday across the team’s complex.
“It’s just getting more work done in less time,” Francona said.
Stephanie Storm can be reached at email@example.com.