ARLINGTON -- As the Indians begin looking toward next season, the ballclub is happy to have Carlos Carrasco back in the plans. The sidelined pitcher has made great strides in his comeback from a serious elbow injury this year."We'll still have to be careful with him next year and still manage things appropriately," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said on Wednesday. "But it would've been great to have him this year and we're certainly looking forward to having him back next year." Carrasco, who has spent the entire season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, is currently pitching for Double-A Akron in the Eastern League playoffs. The right-hander has logged two shutout innings with three strikeouts, hitting 94-97 mph consistently. It is a small sample size, but the Indians are nonetheless excited. "It's very encouraging," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "We can't wait to see him in Spring Training. The velocity, that's an indication of not having any hesitation throwing the ball. No fear. That's good." Carrasco, 25, went 8-9 with a 4.62 ERA in 21 starts during an up-and-down season with the Tribe a year ago. He will likely be thrown into the rotation mix during the spring, but an innings limit will likely be in play next season. Antonetti has been pleased with Carrasco's progress. "It's only been a couple of appearances so far," Antonetti said, "but Carlos has been very impressive. His fastball velocity has been exceptional. His command has been good. His secondary stuff has been sharp. It's very early in the process, but the early returns are favorable."
Tribe turns Ubaldo's attention to the positives
ARLINGTON -- The Indians want to make sure that Ubaldo Jimenez concentrates more on the strides he has made of late and less on his overall showing this season. The club has tried to help by providing the pitcher with statistical evidence of his progress."We have been able to show it to him with stats on paper," Indians manager Manny Acta said on Wednesday, "so he doesn't just think about the whole year. We just try to take the positive out of it. As of late, the results haven't been there with W's and L's, but he has thrown the ball much better. "It's good that he can see it in front of him. The numbers are there to prove it." Acta pointed to Jimenez's recent strikeout rate. Dating back to Aug. 9, the right-hander has fanned 9.31 hitters per nine innings on average, a rate that ranks sixth in the American League over that span. Above Jimenez are Chris Sale (11.43), Max Scherzer (11.09), Yu Darvish (10.6), Matt Moore (10.07) and Justin Verlander (9.94). Jimenez has a rate of 3.08 strikeouts per walk over that time, which is an improvement over the 1.29 mark he posted prior to Aug. 9. His strikeout rate is also a significant upgrade on the 6.91 mark he had before his Aug. 9 outing. "Since mid-August, he has pitched pretty well for us," Acta said. "His numbers stack up with the best pitchers in the American League when it comes to strikeouts per nine innings and walks and all that. Unfortunately, his batting average on balls in play hasn't helped him out. "Some people attribute that to luck, which is something that I'm not a big believer in. He has thrown the ball a lot better than those numbers indicate since the second week of August." Despite the progress with strikeouts and walks, Jimenez (9-16, 5.52 overall) has gone just 1-6 with a 6.28 ERA dating back to Aug. 9. He was 8-11 with a 5.29 ERA prior to that stretch. The righty is the first Indians pitcher since 1991 (Greg Swindell) to lose at least 16 games in a season. "Even though I don't have too many wins in the second half," Jimenez said, "I think I've been able to be more consistent than the first half. Most of the starts, I've been able to at least give the team a chance to win."
Quote to note
"All I know is that we're starting in Toronto. Other than that, I'm not going that far. I'm trying to spend every single ounce of my energy on today and trying to win today, tomorrow and the day after that."
-- Indians manager Manny Acta, on the team's 2013 schedule
Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera was out of the lineup on Wednesday for the third straight game due to a sore right wrist. Cabrera tested his hand during pregame batting practice and his status remains day to day. Indians right-hander Roberto Hernandez (sprained right ankle) will advance to long toss this week and is scheduled to throw off a mound in a bullpen session at some point next week. There is still no clear timetable for a possible return to the rotation. Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner (back) has resumed light hitting and continues to work through a core and cardio program. The club is hopeful that he will be able to take batting practice with the team when the club returns home.
Indians lefty Rafael Perez, who has been sidelined since April due to a left lat injury, is making progress in his recovery from a sprained ankle. Manager Manny Acta said Perez is slated to throw a simulated game within the next week.
Akron (Cleveland's Double-A affiliate) defeated Trenton, 3-0, on Tuesday night to claim Game 1 of the best-of-five Eastern League championship. Righty Paolo Espino logged seven shutout innings for the Aeros in the win.