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Indians starter Carrasco diagnosed with blood condition

June 5, 2019
FILE - In this May 20, 2019, file photo, Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, in Cleveland. Carrasco has been diagnosed with a blood disorder. The team said Wednesday, June 5, 2019, that Carrasco had been feeling lethargic for several weeks. The Indians placed him on the 10-day injured list so the right-hander can “explore the optimal treatment and recovery options.”(AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)

CLEVELAND (AP) — Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco will be sidelined indefinitely because of a recently diagnosed blood condition.

The team said Carrasco had been feeling lethargic for weeks, and he is taking a leave of absence to “explore the optimal treatment and recovery options.” Carrasco had been scheduled to start Wednesday’s game against Minnesota before he was placed on the injured list.

Carrasco is the third Indians starter sidelined this season. Two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber has been out for more than month with a broken right arm, and Mike Clevinger is nearing a return after being out since early April with a strained back muscle.

The Indians gave no specifics on Carrasco’s disorder and said any further details will be released at the discretion of him and his family.

Three-time defending AL Central champions, the Indians, who entered Wednesday 10½ games behind first-place Minnesota, don’t know when the 32-year-old Carrasco will return. However they said in a statement that they expect the right-hander back at some point this season.

Manager Terry Francona said Carrasco was included in a team meeting before Tuesday’s game where his situation was discussed.

“He had been feeling sluggish, and because he’s had some heart issues in the past, he had some blood tests that led to this conclusion,” Francona said, referring to a non-invasive surgery Carrasco underwent for an irregular heartbeat in October 2014.

Second baseman Jason Kipnis offered his support for Carrasco, his teammate since 2011.

“He knows that we’re going to be with him every step away of the way,” Kipnis said. “He’s not in this alone.”?

Kipnis spoke to Carrasco on Monday night, and said the usually happy-go-lucky pitcher is understandably nervous.

“I don’t know if he had all the information,” Kipnis said. “There’s a couple of words in it that would cause anyone to not know how to handle it and almost freeze up and be like, what does this mean? I think the more he does research on it and the more people walk him through the process. I immediately Googled it and started asking him questions about what I was finding. He’s just nervous because right now there’s so much unknown.

“He’ll get through this with the help of everybody. I know the city will be very supportive of him. Every time anyone sees him they will wish him well and ask him how he’s doing. I’m sure he’ll still have a big smile on his face. He’s always in a good mood.”

Carrasco hasn’t pitched up to his standards this season, going 4-6 with a 4.98 ERA in 12 starts. He has given up 14 home runs in 65 innings.

He’s been one of the AL’s steadiest pitchers in recent years, winning 18 games in 2017 and 17 last season.

Carrasco has been with Cleveland since 2009. He signed a $47 million, four-year contract in December.

Francona said the team’s latest health scare — outfielder Leonys Martin survived a life-threatening bacterial infection last year — has helped put things in perspective.

“We show up here, and we spend so much time here,” he said. “Our one thought of the day is how we’re going to win a game. And I don’t apologize for that. At the same time, it’s kind of amazing how quickly you can shift gears. We talked about it as a team last night. Carlos was there. We do a pretty good job of closing ranks. Not that you can ever take the place of a guy’s own family, but the guys in that room are pretty special to each other.

“They look out for each other. At times like this, they’ve risen to the occasion before, and they will again.”

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