Just as Cleveland Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco had returned to the majors from a serious injury and a suspension for hitting a batter on purpose in a game two years ago, he's headed right back into a disciplinary time out. Once he's back on the active roster, anyway.
Major League Baseball announced Friday afternoon that it was suspending Carrasco for eight games for "intentionally throwing" at Kevin Youkilis of the New York Yankees at Progressive Field on Tuesday. Carrasco's punishment also includes a $3,000 fine. The Indians demoted Carrasco, 26, to Triple-A after he was ejected from the game, so he'll begin serving his penalty whenever he returns to the majors. Or, possibly, if.
The Indians only intended for Carrasco to start one game, anyway. Carrasco did not make the Indians rotation out of spring training, but they needed a spot starter Tuesday. They also brought him back, in part, so he could get his 2011 suspension over with. He didn't make it out of the fourth inning, hitting Youkilis in the back after allowing a home run to Robinson Cano.
The overall situation bears a resemblance to events that began during the 2011 season, when Carrasco was ejected for throwing a pitch near the head of Kansas City's Billy Butler. He made one more start that season and blew out his elbow requiring Tommy John ligament replacement surgery. Meanwhile, the league suspended him five games for the Butler incident — a sentence he only recently finished, as he was inactive while rehabbing his injury.
All that's hurt right now is Carrasco's pride and reputation. After the game Tuesday, he maintained his innocence. Via the Associated Press, Yankees manager Joe Girardi had this reaction:
''There's not much you can do about that now,'' Girardi said Thursday before the Yankees and Indians had their game postponed by rain for the second straight day. ''It's unfortunate one of our players got hit. Only he truly knows what he did in his heart. So for me to play psychologist or predict doesn't make a lot of sense.''
Not much of the Carrasco story does. The leading question now is, will he ever be back to finish it?