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05/07/11 9:15 PM ET

Carrasco ready to return to rotation

ANAHEIM -- The numbers from Carlos Carrasco's outing Friday night with Double-A Akron don't necessarily suggest the right-hander is ready for a return to the Majors.

Carrasco gave up four runs on four hits in 3 2/3 innings, walking three and recording three Ks. But his health -- not his stats -- are going to dictate the Indians' plans for him. After he came out of his rehab appearance without any pain in his right elbow, the Indians saw now reason to alter their initial plans to bring him back after Friday's outing.

"We just wanted him to go out, throw and be pain free," manager Manny Acta said before Saturday's game against the Angels. "He was pain free, and today he's good. And we'll be seeing him soon."

Acta said Carrrasco should be back in the starting rotation sometime next week, but he did not indicate a date for his next start.

Carrasco, who was put on the 15-day DL April 28, is 1-1 with a 4.97 ERA in five starts this year. His April 24 start in Minnesota was cut short after three innings due to tightness in his throwing elbow.

Indians confident during close games

ANAHEIM -- The past week of Indians' baseball has not been for the faint of heart. Six of Cleveland's last seven games have come down to each team's final at-bat. Three of those games have lasted at least 11 innings.

And while the Indians dropped an extra-inning game Friday in Anaheim, they've pretty much owned the late innings so far this season.

Each of the Indians' last five victories has come in their last at-bat, and they're 7-3 in games ended by a walk-off this year.

"This has been quite a stretch of close ballgames," Indians manager Manny Acta said Saturday. "It's not like they're ending up 8-7 or anything like that. They've been close. And it's a good sign for us, especially when we win most of them."

If the Indians continue their early-season success, then they can count on plenty of more pressure-packed at-bats in September. Asked if playing in so many tight games can help the team later on in the season, Acta replied that it certainly can't hurt.

"These are the type of games that are played at the end of the season, and playoff-type of atmosphere," Acta said. "Once you get to crunch time, you're going to be seeing the best pitchers, and the games are going to be played in those types of conditions. So it helps the guys."

And the fact that the Indians have won more of these games than lost after struggling in such situations a year ago adds to the club's growing confidence.

Case in point: Cleveland lost a one-run game in 11 innings Friday in Anaheim, but no one seemed particularly downtrodden after the loss.

"It is slightly unusual that we would lose a game like this -- we've been doing a great job," Justin Masterson said after Friday's game. "A lot of close games, taking tie ballgames late, and we've been able to be victorious because our pitching has been great, defense has been great and guys have come through in the clutch."

Smoke signals

April was a month to forget for right-hander Chad Durbin. He finished the month with an 8.38 ERA in 9 2/3 innings, allowing nine runs on 13 hits, two homers and six walks. Through two appearances in May, however, it seems Durbin is on his way toward recovering from his rough start. He's struck out two and given up two hits in 2 1/3 scoreless innings. "He's pitched ahead better than the last couple of outings that he's had, and that's a key for a guy like him," manager Manny Acta said. "Earlier he was just pitching behind in the count the whole time. And you can't afford to do that unless you have that overpowering type of stuff." ... After being unavailable during Friday's 11-inning loss to the Angels, Acta said both closer Chris Perez and left-hander Tony Sipp were available in the 'pen for Saturday's game. ... Of the Indians' 10 losses this year, three have come in Anaheim. Cleveland entered Saturday's game having scored seven runs in four games against the Halos, with a team batting average of .128 (17-for-133).

David Ely is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.