CLEVELAND -- For at least one more day, Indians starter Carlos Carrasco has avoided the disabled list. Cleveland is hoping to sidestep such a move in the next few days, as well.
On Tuesday, Carrasco tested his sore right elbow during a brief round of catch with head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff at Progressive Field. Carrasco came away from the workout feeling good, and he is scheduled to throw off a mound in a bullpen session on Wednesday.
If Carrasco feels fine during and following that next step, the Indians plan on giving him the go-ahead to start on Saturday against the Tigers.
"That's the plan," Indians manager Manny Acta said prior to Tuesday's game against the Royals. "Everything will depend on the bullpen tomorrow."
After he made 20 throws on flat ground from a distance of around 60 feet, the 24-year-old Carrasco sat at his locker and said he felt relieved. The right-hander exited Sunday's start in Minnesota after just three innings, due to tightness in his throwing elbow.
An MRI exam performed on Carrasco's elbow revealed no structural damage.
"I feel better today," said Carrasco, who is 1-1 with a 4.97 ERA through five starts for the Tribe this season. "When I threw today, I had a good delivery and I felt better."
On Wednesday, Carrasco is slated to work through a full bullpen session, consisting of around 30-35 pitches.
Carrasco said he experienced more discomfort when throwing his fastball than any of his breaking pitches. He added that this is similar to the right elbow soreness he experienced last July while with Triple-A Columbus. He did not miss a start during that episode.
The Indians are hoping Carrasco can avoid missing a turn this time around, too.
"We're still going to be careful," Acta said. "We're going to see how that bullpen goes tomorrow, and do what's best for him and for us."
Choo's early struggles don't concern Acta
CLEVELAND -- Less than a week remains until the calendar flips to May, and Indians right fielder Shin-Soo Choo continues to be mired in an ugly offensive slump. Still, manager Manny Acta does not sound worried.
A big reason rests in Cleveland's win-loss record.
"I'm not concerned," Acta said on Tuesday. "We're playing well as a team -- that's what matters. Right now, we have spread the wealth very well in our lineup. We have a few guys with over 10 RBIs. Batting average is not everything. He's done a lot of things to help us win."
If Choo continues to struggle, when would Acta begin to worry?
"About the All-Star break," said the manager. "If by the All-Star break, Choo is hitting .200, I'll be concerned."
Entering Tuesday's game against the Royals, Choo was hitting .207 (17-for-82), with two home runs and 10 RBIs over 21 games. Along the way, he has posted a .264 on-base percentage and a .305 slugging percentage. In each of the past two years, Choo hit .300 on the nose for the Indians.
Acta expects Choo to be in that same range when it's all said and done.
"It's only been three weeks," Acta said. "This guy, he's going to be there."
Acta added that it is not shocking that opposing pitchers have come into this season better prepared to face Choo.
"Up until last year, he was a hidden secret, basically," Acta said. "He had a very good year, but it was just one year. People always wait for a second good season for them to start noticing guys.
"Once the word was out last year that this guy was legit, second season in a row hitting .300, a 20-20 guy, I'm sure guys are approaching him differently. He's going to have to make the adjustments, and he will."
Sizemore's play has impressed Acta
CLEVELAND -- The Indians have seen Grady Sizemore play in a week's worth of games since his return from the disabled list. So far, manager Manny Acta has been thrilled with the early results.
"I've been pleasantly surprised with the way Grady has come out of the gates swinging the bat," Acta said on Tuesday. "He's proved to us that he was hurt at the beginning of the season last year, because he wasn't able to swing the bat this way."
Acta referred to the fact that Sizemore was suffering through left knee pain well before he underwent microfracture surgery last June. In 33 games with the Indians a year ago, Sizemore hit .211, with no homers and 13 RBIs. He hurt his knee in early April and then again on May 16, ending his season.
Following a lengthy rehab, Sizemore was activated from the 15-day DL on April 17. Through his first seven games back with the Tribe, all Sizemore has done is hit .357 (10-for-28), with two home runs, four doubles and five RBIs.
"He's swinging the bat like pre-injury right here," Acta said. "Look at the total extra-base hits he has already. It almost matches the amount of extra bases he had here in 33 games last year. The sound of the ball coming off his bat, it's there."
Acta has also liked what he has seen from Sizemore in center field.
"In that series that we played in Kansas City [last week]," Acta said, "he was tested pretty good. He played on a wet field. He dove and made a catch, and dove to knock a ball down. Extra bases. He's had a pretty good test so far, and passed everything with flying colors."
Acta noted that the Indians initially thought this was about the time Sizemore would be returning from the DL. Instead, Sizemore showed strong progress in his Minor League rehab with Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus, earning an earlier activation.
Sizemore returned ahead of schedule as far as Acta is concerned.
"In our mind, yeah," said the manager. "After our first homestand over here, when we went on the road, he told me, 'I'll see you when you get back.' And we did."
Acta reiterated, however, that the Tribe will continue to exercise caution when it comes to Sizemore's playing time. The manager indicated that Sizemore's time on the field will likely be limited for "a couple more weeks" before Cleveland tries using him on an everyday basis each week.
"There's still some watching over him to do," Acta said. "But we're very happy with the way he has responded."
Acta thinks White will help Tribe this year
CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Manny Acta expects to see pitching prospect Alex White in a Cleveland uniform at some point this season.
"I'm anticipating that he's going to be here to help us at some point," Acta said on Tuesday. "I can't give you an exact date, but with the reports we've gotten, we wouldn't be afraid to bring this guy up to compete up here.
"And, if he has any developing to do, it could be continued up here."
Through four outings with Triple-A Columbus, the 22-year-old White has gone 1-0 with a 1.90 ERA, piling up 28 strikeouts against five walks over 23 2/3 innings. On Monday, White picked up a win over Indianapolis by fashioning 5 2/3 solid innings, in which he struck out eight and allowed one run.
Acta noted that White -- a first-round pick by the Indians in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft -- has shown progress with his secondary pitches early on this season.
"He's throwing the ball well down there," Acta said. "We've gotten some reports that his slider is improving."
Quote to note
"He's awesome. Choo just cares about winning. Once we win, he's happy. Right now, you could talk to him, all he cares about is winning. Granted, he wants to hit .300 and he wants to produce at his level. But as long as we're winning, he's fine. He's been tremendous about that."
--Indians manager Manny Acta, on a slumping Shin-Soo Choo
Indians catcher Carlos Santana, who carried a .200 average into Tuesday's action, had reached base via a hit or walk in each of his past 10 games. "He has looked so much better this last week," manager Manny Acta said. "Earlier, he was just chasing pitches out of the zone. He's not that type of guy." ... Double-A Akron lefty Nick Hagadone was named the Indians' Minor League Player of the Week on Tuesday. During the period of April 17-23, Hagadone logged 5 1/3 shutout innings with eight strikeouts, four hits allowed and one walk. ... Class A Kinston lefty Drew Pomeranz (Cleveland's top pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft) left his start on Monday after three innings, due to a cramp in his left hamstring. The injury is not considered serious. ... Entering Tuesday, the Indians were batting .319 (53-for-166) with runners in scoring position. Cleveland hit just .248 with RISP last season.