CLEVELAND — Joe Torre clearly didn’t believe Carlos Carrasco slipped.
Torre, Major League Baseball’s executive vice president of baseball operations and dean of discipline, slapped Carrasco with an eight-game suspension Friday for hitting New York’s Kevin Youkilis with a pitch Tuesday.
Carrasco, who drew a six-game suspension in 2011 for hitting Kansas City’s Billy Butler in a similar incident, was also fined a reported $3,000.
The 26-year-old right-hander and the Indians have contended that Carrasco slipped on the delivery and that he did not intentionally throw at Youkilis, who was the following batter after Robinson Cano hit a two-run home run off Carrasco in the fourth inning of the Yankees’ 14-1 win. Carrasco was ejected by home plate umpire Jordan Baker.
“Carlos has been very consistent. He said it was not intentional,” Cleveland general manager Chris Antonetti said. “The only person who knows whether or not it’s intentional is Carlos, and he was very convincing in the time he talked to (manager) Terry (Francona) and the time he talked to me.
“The results are disappointing because ultimately it’s led to an additional suspension. I understand Joe Torre and (senior vice president of standards and on-field operations) Joe Garagiola’s perspective on it and how it appeared and Carlos acknowledged that as well.”
Carrasco is expected to appeal the suspension and fine, which is when he will have the opportunity to state his case to Torre.
With this being his second suspension, Antonetti was asked if he was worried that Carrasco was developing a bad reputation around the league.
“I’m not really focused on that and I don’t think Carlos is either,” he said. “What’s important for him is getting to be the pitcher we all know he’s capable of being. He has an unbelievable amount of potential and he’s going to be a very successful major league pitcher. As long as we work with him to get him to that point, we don’t need to concern ourselves with other issues.”
For the time being, Carrasco will hone his skills in the minors. After his brief and ineffective outing Tuesday — seven runs in 3 ⅔ innings — he was optioned to Triple-A Columbus. It was the first big-league appearance since 2011 for Carrasco, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery.
Carrasco, one of the players acquired in a trade with the Phillies for Cliff Lee in 2009, made his major league debut with Cleveland that same year. He earned a fulltime spot in the Indians’ rotation in 2011, going 8-9 with a 4.62 ERA in 21 starts before the elbow injury surfaced.
Carrasco was a strong candidate to win the fifth starter job this spring but lost out to left-hander Scott Kazmir.
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