Carlos Carrasco hits 97 mph on first pitch back from leukemia diagnosis in rehab appearance

Monday’s showing is a great sign for <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/8185/" data-ylk="slk:Carlos Carrasco">Carlos Carrasco</a>’s baseball future and, more importantly, his health. (Getty)
Monday’s showing is a great sign for Carlos Carrasco’s baseball future and, more importantly, his health. (Getty)

On July 6, Cleveland Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco revealed that he is battling leukemia.

He’d been on the injured list since June 5 and hadn’t pitched since May, but said that he’d been receiving treatment and that the illness was under control. He held out hope of returning to the mound.

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Carrasco throws heater, gets standing O

On Monday he did. The 32-year-old made his first minor league rehab appearance for Double-A Akron. He pitched a single scoreless inning, hit 97 mph on the radar gun and received a standing ovation.

MLB.com’s Mandy Bell recorded the moment.

Carraso spoke with reporters after the game. Even he was surprised by his velocity following his treatment and time off from the game.

“You know first time coming back from 2½ months without baseball and just a couple bullpens, maybe three or four bullpens, and the first pitch is 97,” Carrasco said. “Right away, I looked back to the scoreboard because I just wanted to find out what was that pitch, and it was 97. It feels great.”

What’s the next step for Carrasco?

What’s next for Carrasco is unclear. The 10-year veteran posted a 4.98 ERA and 1.308 WHIP in 12 starts this season before stepping away to get treatment.

The Indians stand two games behind the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central and sit atop the AL wild card standings.

Manager Terry Francona told MLB.com over the weekend that Carrasco could return to help the team in a relief role if he continues to show progress.

“Like I think when he started thinking about building up as a starter, it kind of seemed a little daunting, a little far away,” Francona said. “This is something he can latch onto and be a part of our team and really help us, and it doesn’t seem so far away.”

There’s no word on what the next step will be, but Monday’s showing is a great sign for Carrasco’s immediate baseball future and, more importantly, his health.

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