Carlos Carrasco is back in the big leagues.
On Sunday, the Cleveland Indians announced they have reactivated the 32-year-old pitcher, who was diagnosed with leukemia in June. Carrasco is expected to join the Indians in Tampa Bay, where they will face the Rays in the third game of a three-game series on Sunday.
Although he has spent the majority of his career as a starter, the right-handed Carrasco is expected to be used out of Cleveland's bullpen for the remainder of the season. Over the course of the past two weeks, he worked a reliever's regimen while making rehab starts in Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus.
“I just want to work through everything,” Carrasco said following an appearance in Akron last week. “I’m trying to get my body ready to go into the big leagues, and that’s what I’ve been doing right now. Everything that I did these two games right here, that’s what I’m looking for, be in control, throw all of my pitches and just get ready for the big leagues.
“I’m really happy to be pitching again. It’s great. I was out for two-and-a-half months, and now, I’m back to the mound. It’s been great.
“Everything feels great. I feel great, happy, the same guy I’ve been before. I’m glad to get the opportunity to pitch again.”
In 12 starts this season, Carrasco amassed a 4-6 record to go along with a 4.98 ERA and 79 strikeouts. He was last regularly used as a reliever during the 2014 season.
Carrasco's return to the Indians' roster coincides with the MLB's annual September roster expansion from 25 to 40 players. In addition to Carrasco, the Indians have reactivated relief pitcher Dan Otero, recalled catcher Eric Haase and selected the contracts of infielder Ryan Flaherty and relief pitcher James Hoyt.
Following Saturday's 9-6 loss to the Rays, the Indians now trail the Minnesota Twins by 4.5 games in the American League Central and lay claim to just a half-game lead over Tampa Bay and the Oakland Athletics for the A.L.'s top Wild Card spot.