A day after right-hander Carlos Carrasco's emotional return to the Indians during a loss at Tampa Bay, Cleveland will look to get back on track Monday in the opener of a four-game series against the visiting Chicago White Sox.
Carrasco rejoined the roster Sunday for the first time in nearly three months after being diagnosed midseason with chronic myeloid leukemia.
"I always thought I'd be back pitching this year," he said.
Carrasco will use his resolve as a reliever for the rest of the season.
A starter for much of his 10-year career, Carrasco now provides manager Terry Francona with another bullpen option. The role reversal, which the organization deemed more feasible for Carrasco as he pushed for a 2019 return, hardly fazed the 32-year-old veteran.
"His eyes lit up when we said that," Francona said of gearing Carrasco's rehab toward joining the bullpen. "I think it made it more attainable."
Carrasco scattered one run over five innings in four minor league rehab appearances. Back in the majors on Sunday, he pitched the seventh inning of the Indians' 8-2 road loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, allowing one run and two hits.
Cleveland, which was swept in three gave by Tampa Bay, enters Monday trailing the first-place Minnesota Twins by 5 1/2 games in the race for the American League Central title. The Indians are a half-game behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the first wild-card spot and a half-game up on the Oakland A's for the second wild-card position.
Sunday's result notwithstanding, Carrasco's return figures to boost the Indians down the stretch.
"Some people when they hear they have cancer, leukemia, whatever you want to call it, normally they go, 'Oh, my God,'" Carrasco said. "My mind went there for one second. Then I said, 'What's happening here? I'm a strong guy. I believe in God. I believe in my family. I have the support of my teammates.'
"So I stayed away from thinking about that. I never felt any negative thoughts. I always had good thoughts. That was the key."
Cleveland is set to start rookie right-hander Aaron Civale (2-3, 1.96 ERA) against Chicago.
On Wednesday, Civale notched his first victory since June, holding the Detroit Tigers to two runs over seven innings.
Civale, who has not faced the White Sox in his first six career starts, will make his first appearance at Progressive Field since Aug. 5. He is 1-1 with an 0.75 ERA in two home starts this season.
Chicago has lost six in a row, but shortstop Tim Anderson has remained a consistent cog in the attack.
Anderson's .328 batting average entering Monday would rank third in the American League if Anderson had enough plate appearances. He missed just more than a month with a sprained right ankle earlier this season.
Anderson said his focus lies far outside the prospect of becoming the first White Sox player to win a batting title since Frank Thomas in 1997.
"I just try to take it a day at a time, and if it happens, it happens," Anderson said. "But I just try to stay consistent in what I do and finish the year strong."
Left-hander Ross Detwiler (2-4, 6.45 ERA) will start for Chicago in his first career outing against the Indians. The journeyman has faced each of the other 29 major league clubs in his career.
His latest start came Wednesday against the Twins, when he gave up five runs in four innings. Detwiler also allowed three runs while getting just one out in relief on Saturday at Atlanta.
--Field Level Media