4/10/2013 9:10 P.M. ET
Francona maintains Youk hit-by-pitch unintentional
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- The Indians understand that it looked bad, and might have been viewed as intentional by many viewers, but Cleveland manager Terry Francona insists that he believes that Carlos Carrasco did not hit Yankees third baseman Kevin Youkilis with a pitch on purpose Tuesday night.
On Wednesday, when Francona informed Carrasco that he had been optioned to to Triple-A Columbus, the manager did not feel the need to revisit Tuesday's incident. What Francona is hoping now is that Major League Baseball does not issue a suspension for the right-handed starter.
"I hope not," Francona said. "Again, I know how it looked. But I also know what he told me and I believe him. I know the league has to do their thing, and I fully respect that, but I think that the league's pretty good about listening. I know they have a job to do, too."
Carrasco, who recently finished serving a five-game suspension for a similar incident that dated back to July 2011 (the pitcher missed the rest of that season and all of last year with an elbow injury), explained that he slipped on the mound on the pitch that struck Youkilis in the back of the left shoulder. On the previous pitch, Carrasco had given up a two-run home run to Robinson Cano.
Home-plate umpire Jordan Baker ejected Carrasco, who allowed seven runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings in the loss.
"I believe he slipped last night," Francona said. "That wasn't Kevin Youkilis' fault. I don't buy into [throwing at players]. The game has a way of taking care of itself sometimes when it needs to, but that's not what happened last night, and I fully believe that. Nobody on their team needed to be hit, and nobody got hit intentionally."
Indians option Carrasco, call up Kluber
CLEVELAND -- The Indians continued their rotation shuffling on Wednesday, promoting right-hander Corey Kluber from Triple-A Columbus to start against the Yankees. The move was essentially rendered moot when Wednesday's game was postponed due to rain.
No makeup date has been announced and Kluber will shift into the bullpen temporarily.
Cleveland was left scrambling to fill Wednesday's starting slot after its pitching staff was unexpectedly taxed on Monday and Tuesday against New York. In order to help save the bullpen extra work, the Indians used right-hander Brett Myers -- the planned starter for Wednesday -- in relief in Tuesday's 14-1 loss.
Kluber, 26, made 12 starts as a rookie with Cleveland last season, going 2-5 with a 5.14 ERA. The right-hander made his season debut at Triple-A on Friday and picked up a win after holding Indianapolis to three runs on six hits over six innings. The Indians optioned Carlos Carrasco, Tuesday's starter, to Triple-A to make room for Kluber.
In the wake of the rainout, McAllister will start as planned on Thursday against the Yankees, followed by Justin Masterson (Friday against the White Sox), Ubaldo Jimenez (Saturday against the White Sox) and Myers (Sunday against the White Sox). Cleveland has a scheduled team off-day on Monday.
On Tuesday night, Carrasco -- making his first start since Aug. 3, 2011, following a comeback from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow -- was ejected in the fourth inning after hitting New York's Kevin Youkilis with a pitch. Carrasco gave up seven runs on seven hits, including two home runs, in just 3 2/3 innings.
Myers entered in relief and surrendered seven runs on 11 hits, including three home runs, over 5 1/3 innings.
One game earlier, Jimenez lasted only 4 1/3 innings in a disappointing showing against the Yankees in Monday's home opener for Cleveland.
"You try to take things that don't go right and make the best out of it," Indians manager Terry Francona said of the roster shuffling.
Masterson has opened the year strong with a 2-0 record and a 0.69 ERA, but the rest of the staff has struggled. Cleveland's other starters have combined to go 0-5 with an 8.70 ERA, allowing 27 earned runs on 32 hits over 30 innings (not including Myers' relief outing).
Myers saves bullpen, but continues to struggle
CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona praised Brett Myers for saving the team's bullpen during Tuesday night's lopsided loss against the Yankees. In that regard, the veteran right-hander's emergency relief performance was indeed admirable.
Myers' performance, however, was shaky in terms of results. That has been the case for the bulk of the starter's appearances dating back to Spring Training, when he joined the team after signing a one-year contract over the winter.
Following Tuesday's 14-1 loss, in which Myers allowed seven runs over 5 1/3 innings, Francona said he felt the pitcher threw well at times. Francona was asked to clarify that thought prior to Wednesday's game against the Yankees.
"The one thing to remember is it's my job to always [think positive]," Francona said. "I mean, if I don't think positive, who the heck is? That's my job. I get that. Shoot, I think we're going to win when it's 13-1 and we're down. I'm supposed to. And then when we're not winning, I'm supposed to try to take care of our guys and either protect our bullpen or do things like that.
"First of all, it was a difficult situation and I thought he really handled it well. That was appreciated. He completely saved our bullpen. He pitched fairly effectively for a couple innings and then they were in swing mode and he left some fastballs out over the plate that got whacked. So I think you can harp on that as a staff, or you can look to what he did well and try to capitalize on that. That's what we choose to do."
Through two appearances this season -- one start and Tuesday's relief outing -- Myers has posted a 12.19 ERA, allowing 14 runs on 18 hits (seven home runs) with four strikeouts and two walks in 10 1/3 innings. Including his six Cactus League games this spring, Myers has posted a 10.05 ERA (35 earned runs) with 54 hits (10 homers) allowed in 31 1/3 innings.
"He's not the power pitcher that maybe he was 10 years ago," Francona said, "so the wiggle room for when he doesn't locate his fastball isn't what it was. So, he has to pitch accordingly."
Quote to note
"The reason we're doing these things is to keep things in order. The hope would be things settle down and we go play baseball and see how good we can get. Right now, sometimes you make moves just to kind of keep things in order."
-- Francona, on the wave of transactions in the past week
• Youkilis was a key part of Francona's teams during their days with the Boston Red Sox. Francona said on Wednesday that it is strange to see Youkilis wearing a Yankees uniform.
"He does look funny in that uniform still to me," Francona said. "It's hard to picture him in that. The one thing he does is he never gives away an at-bat. He certainly wears his emotions on his sleeve. He plays every inning like it's his last. I mean this all in a positive way. I don't know what team he'd be bad for."
Francona said the Red Sox learned to live with Youkilis' emotional style of play.
"It was to the point where he was a young player, he was throwing a lot of helmets and we were trying to get him to calm down," Francona said. "We kind of realized we were taking away what made him good. So we just learned to get out of the way."
• Through eight games this season, Indians All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera has hit just .133 (4-for-30) with two home runs and three RBIs. Francona said it was good to see Cabrera, who dealt with a back issue at the end of Spring Training, launch a home run in Tuesday's loss to the Yankees.
"The season started and he's played every inning -- until [Monday] -- of every game," Francona said, "and he's racking up some at-bats quickly and making some outs, because he's hitting in the middle of the order. He just hasn't felt real comfortable swinging yet. It was nice to see him hit that home run, because he's such a vital part of what we're doing."
• Indians catcher Carlos Santana, who is currently sidelined with a bruised left hand suffered in Monday's game, was scheduled to be re-evaluated on Wednesday. Cleveland wants to take a cautious approach before having Santana start a gradual progression through baseball activities. There is no current timetable for his return to games.
• Entering Wednesday, Indians first baseman Nick Swisher had hit safely in 18 consecutive games at Progressive Field. Michael Young owns the record for longest hitting streak (20 games for the Rangers from June 1, 2004-May 25, 2008) at the ballpark, which opened in 1994.