Posted on July 6, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
Cleveland Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco has revealed that he’s currently in a battle with leukemia, a type of cancer. The Indians placed Carrasco on the Injured List in early June with a non-baseball illness, only sharing that it was a blood condition. But Carrasco has told a news outlet in the Dominican Republic that the blood condition is actually leukemia. However, he also says he’s expecting to return to the mound later this month.
“At the end of May, they shut me down because they saw something wrong with my blood,” Carrasco told Dominican TV network CDN 37 on Friday. “The doctors got a little worried and they sent me for a blood test, another blood test. The blood levels were off, the platelets were really high. The following week, my wife and I went to the hospital, and they told us I have leukemia. That’s one of the reasons why I’m not playing right now, but I’ll be back at the end of July.”
When Carrasco went on the IL in June, the Indians said he had been feeling lethargic and needed time away from baseball while being treated for a blood disorder. The club said more information would be shared later with Carrasco’s permission. The 32-year-old Venezuela native has taken it upon himself to share his diagnosis with the world.
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It’s unclear what type of leukemia Carrasco is battling. The disease affects both blood and bone marrow, although most varieties are treatable once detected. It seems that Carrasco has a treatable form of leukemia if he’s already talking about a potential return a little over five weeks since his last start.
Carrasco didn’t clarify in his statement whether he’ll rejoin the Indians at the end of July or simply start a minor league rehab assignment at that point. The club has made no formal statement about Carrasco since he initially went on the IL last month. They’ve made no indication that he will start a rehab assignment soon. That would indicate that Carrasco may not be back in the majors by the end of July.
Nevertheless, Carrasco expressing optimism about being back in the not-too-distant future is wonderful news. Coming back from cancer treatment to pitch in the majors would be a great story and an incredible accomplishment for Carrasco. The Indians could also use the help. Cleveland’s rotation has been hindered by injuries all season. In addition to Carrasco, both Mike Clevinger and Corey Kluber have missed extended periods of time. Kluber is still out while Clevinger only recently returned from his second IL stint of the season.
Prior to going on the IL, Carrasco was 4-6 with a 4.98 ERA over 12 starts. However, if you take out his last three starts when the disease may have had an impact on his performance, Carrasco had an ERA of 4.18 through his first nine starts. Given his experience and track record, the Indians would love to have Carrasco for the stretch run as they try to catch the Twins in the AL Central.
Of course, Carrasco’s announcement of being diagnosed with leukemia makes this far more than a baseball story. Obviously, his health is far more important than how soon he’ll step foot on a big league mound. However, the fact that Carrasco is talking about baseball and his return to the mound means this story could have a happy ending.