CLEVELAND: The Indians have a plan, and Carlos Carrasco isn’t part of it, at least not in the short term.
After giving up six earned runs in 3⅓ innings Saturday in the Tribe’s 9-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers, Carrasco was designated for assignment for the purpose of optioning him to Columbus.
That description sounds a little tortured and is based on a little known rule (to fans). Players with at least three years of major-league experience who have an option remaining must pass through waivers before they can be sent to the minors. If a team claims the player, he can be pulled back.
The procedure is largely a formality, so the Tribe is not in danger of losing Carrasco.
Some fans might lament that fact, because in six starts, he has given up at least six earned runs four times and failed to reach the fifth inning four times.
His 0-4 record and 9.10 ERA speak for themselves.
Unless he replaces an injured player, Carrasco must remain in Columbus for 10 days. But his turn will come again on Thursday, when the Toronto Blue Jays visit Progressive Field. The probable alternative is Trevor Bauer, who can be called up to make his fifth start of the season.
“We had intended for Carrasco to make his next start,” manager Terry Francona said. “But because he went short, we wanted another reliever.”
But Carrasco’s demotion wasn’t based solely on needing another arm in the bullpen.
“We need him to pitch better,” Francona said.
All four of his previous outings have been one-shot opportunities. Bauer pitched reasonably well twice and poorly twice, including his last start, when he gave up five runs to the Chicago White Sox in two-thirds of an inning on the Tribe’s last trip.
The question is whether the Indians’ deep thinkers have become disenchanted with Carrasco and have decided to give Bauer a chance to stay in the rotation.
Francona wouldn’t commit to Bauer as the pitcher likely to start on Thursday.
“We’re still trying to work through a few things,” he said. “We might have more to tell you tomorrow.”
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.