Not even cancer can stop Cleveland Indians starter Carlos Carrasco.
Despite being diagnosed with leukemia prior to the All-Star break, Carrasco will be activated for Cleveland's game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday, according to Indians manager Terry Francona:
After a long and scary journey, Carlos Carrasco will be activated on Sunday.
— MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (@MLBNetworkRadio) August 28, 2019
Carrasco made a trio of appearances with Cleveland's Double-A and Triple-A affiliates, giving up one run and two hits in 3 2/3 innings of work. Carrasco is slated to have one more bullpen session before he is given the green light to return to action.
The 32-year-old from Venezuela has had an extremely trying season. Carrasco posted a 4.98 ERA and gave up 14 homers in his first 12 starts of the year before shockingly announcing that he had leukemia just before the Indians were set to host the 2019 MLB All-Star Game.
Carrasco joined his teammates on the field as they held signs that said “I Stand with Cookie” during the recognition of MLB's partnership with “Stand Up to Cancer,” a scene that was easily among the most emotional in baseball this season:
The full Carlos Carrasco portion of the Stand Up to Cancer ceremony pic.twitter.com/iAaAzTjenq
— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) July 10, 2019
Though there was initially no expectation that Carrasco would return to action in 2019, the Indians quickly became optimistic that he would be able to rejoin the pitching staff sometime in September.
Finally, it seems Carrasco will get his chance to make a triumphant return, barring any final setback. As Francona mentions in the soundbite, the Indians will use Carrasco out of the bullpen, but they might be open to extending him for multiple innings as they ramp things up during the final month.
Although the Indians just lost Jose Ramirez possibly for the remainder of the regular season, Carrasco's return could have a drastic impact in the clubhouse.