Indians manager Terry Francona did not need to see right-hander Carlos Carrasco to be enthused about him Friday morning at Progressive Field.
Francona simply needed to listen.
The more audible the pop from Carrasco's pitches to a catcher's glove in an indoor cage, the wider Francona's smile.
"Granted, he was in the cage," Francona said. "But that ball was making a loud noise. It was exciting. If he's not healthy, nobody is."
Carrasco did not pitch in the majors last season after elbow trouble limited him to 21 starts in 2011 (8-9, 4.62 ERA). He underwent reconstructive surgery in September 2011.
Carrasco was among Indians players in the clubhouse Friday in advance of TribeFest this weekend at Progressive Field. Spring training can't come fast enough for Carrasco.
"You have no idea how excited I am," he said. "Oh, my goodness. I'm 100 percent, the arm feels great, and I'm ready."
Carrasco said his rehabilitation, though long and arduous, went as well as can be expected. He said he did not suffer any significant setbacks and will arrive at Goodyear, Ariz., with no restrictions. The Indians, of course, will monitor his workload.
"A lot of times when guys get their elbow fixed, they come back better," Francona said. "It might take them a while, but once they get back and have the feel of competing instead of rehabbing, you see more success."
Carrasco, who turns 26 on March 21, acknowledged that his extended time on the sidelines probably has made him somewhat of a forgotten man. He is 10-15 with a 4.93 ERA in 33 career major-league starts, all with Cleveland.
Manager Terry Francona likes what he hears from Carlos Carrasco
Cleveland Plain Dealer | Jan 19