8/17/2014 1:10 P.M. ET
Carrasco thriving since rejoining starting rotation
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- The Indians' decision to pull Carlos Carrasco out of the bullpen and put him in the rotation last week was a necessary step at the time. Though it seemed like a temporary move, Carrasco has since earned an opportunity to stick in the starting staff for the forseeable future.
In his two starts back in the rotation, Carrasco has turned in 12 scoreless innings in back-to-back wins over the Yankees and Orioles, handling the increased pitch volume with apparent ease. In his two victories combined, the right-hander has issued no walks, scattered just five hits and piled up nine strikeouts.
"We wanted him to succeed, or we wouldn't have done it," Indians manager Terry Francona said of putting Carrasco back in the rotation. "But I think we did it at a time where we thought we could manage it also. Like we've talked about, it's not the easiest thing to do in the middle of a season, but with the days off we had, and the way he's pitched, it's really worked out well.
"It's given us a shot in the arm, and we haven't killed our bullpen. He's got to feel pretty good about himself."
Dating back to April 30, following four forgettable starts in early April, Carrasco has turned in a 1.80 ERA with 48 strikeouts, nine walks and a .198 opponents' average across 55 innings (28 games, including the two starts). Given the routine and comfort zone that Carrasco established in a relief role, the pitcher worked exclusively out of the stretch in his past two starts.
Francona likes that approach from Carrasco, who has tried to maintain the same mentality and style in his two starts as he had in the bullpen.
"I don't know that that just changes everything," Francona said of Carrasco working out of the stretch. "I just think that's part of what he was doing in the bullpen, and he was pitching really well. So I don't see the big deal. OK, you're a starter, but if you're more comfortable, there's less moving parts."
Holt optioned to make room for starter Salazar
CLEVELAND -- The Indians expect Tyler Holt to be back in the big leagues before this season is complete. That was the message that manager Terry Francona delivered to the young outfielder when informing him that he was heading back to Triple-A Columbus.
Prior to Sunday's series finale against the Orioles, Cleveland optioned Holt back to Columbus in order to recall right-hander Danny Salazar from Triple-A to start against Baltimore. Francona detailed the team's decision to Holt late Saturday night.
"We explained to him last night, this is not an indictment on his play," Francona said on Sunday morning. "He actually played really well. It's just, when you have options, you just try to make organizational decisions. And he'll be back."
Holt would seem to be a prime candidate to return after rosters expand on Sept. 1.
"Or before then. Who knows?" Francona said. "And he gets it. And that's our obligation to explain to guys, so they don't get frustrated. This kid, if you take a look last year at this time and now, I just think it's a good thing, and his career is on the upswing."
In 97 games between Double-A Akron and Columbus this season, the 25-year-old Holt has turned in a .306/.419/.384 slash line to go along with 22 extra-base hits, 29 RBIs, 31 stolen bases, 66 walks and 73 runs scored. In his six games in the big leagues (split between three stints with the Tribe), Holt hit .385 in 13 at-bats.
"We got to play him a little bit, which was nice," Francona said. "I think all the things that the guys in player development said really are true. He's a kid that's kind of gone level to level, and a kid that coaching staffs like, because he plays so hard and is such a good teammate.
"It's not an easy thing for a young kid to come up and impact a team in the middle of the year, and he had a really good way of doing that. When you call up young kids in the middle of the season and their enthusiasm plays up, it's really fun to watch."
Quote to note
"With his stuff, when he's throwing strikes and pounding the zone like that, he's fun to watch. He's fun to play behind. He works quick and gets a lot of outs. He has great stuff and he's a big part of our rotation right now."
-- Indians outfielder Michael Brantley, on Carrasco
• As expected, center fielder Michael Bourn was in the starting lineup on Sunday for the second game in a row, following an extended stay on the disabled list due to a left hamstring injury. In his first game back on Saturday, Bourn walked, scored a run and came through with a sacrifice bunt that set up a run for Cleveland.
"He walked. He got a bunt down. He ran the balls down in the outfield," Francona said. "I think he was excited to be back. It's funny how a guy with that much time, I think he was a little nervous, which isn't a bad thing. I think he's excited to be back playing."
• Designated hitter Nick Swisher, who is on the 15-disabled list with a right knee injury, is currently home in Los Angeles. Swisher is scheduled to get a second opinion on his ailing knee from specialist Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday in L.A. The Indians will have more information on the severity of the injury following that evaluation.
• First-base prospect Bobby Bradley, 18, went 3-for-4 with two home runs and eight RBIs for Rookie League affiliate Arizona on Saturday. Bradley (selected in the third round of the June First-Year Player Draft) has hit .369 with seven homers, 21 extra-base hits and 46 RBIs through 32 games in his first professional season.