The Indians will be getting one of their Cy Young contenders back on Thursday, as Carlos Carrasco will return to the starting rotation following nearly a six-week absence.



Carrasco strained his left hamstring on April 24 in Detroit covering first base on a ground ball, warranting a stint on the 15-day disabled list. He threw a rehab outing for Double-A Akron on Saturday with positive results. Following his side session on Monday, the Indians were ready to deem him able to return.



Carrasco will have a “guideline” of about 80 pitches when he faces the Kansas City Royals.



“Everything feels good, “ Carrasco said. “I don’t feel anything different. So, everything was fine.”



Carrasco has been focusing on pitcher-fielding-practice (PFP) and covered first base in his rehab start in Double-A Akron. He hasn’t felt anything troublesome in his hamstring since he started testing it.



“I thought I was going to feel something in my bullpen [session], but I didn’t feel anything,” he said. “Actually, when I started running, I thought I was going to feel something, but I didn’t really feel anything.”



Carrasco’s return is certainly a welcomed sight for the Indians. Before he went down he was 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA to go with 20 strikeouts in 22 innings pitched. At the time of the injury, it appeared as though he might have torn his hamstring, which could have put his season in jeopardy.



“Extremely, said Indians manager Terry Francona when asked if he felt lucky, all things considered.” I think there was a chance, when it happened, that the trainers thought that maybe that was a potential surgery. … We’re very fortunate.”



It’s likely that Carrasco’s addition to the starting rotation means rookie Mike Clevinger, who’s made three starts and struggled in his last two, will be optioned to Triple-A Columbus. Clevinger was knocked around by Baltimore, raising his season ERA to 8.79.



Per Francona, Clevinger will have the night off Tuesday and then be available in the bullpen if needed on Wednesday.