The Cleveland Indians pitcher was suspended for eight games by Major League Baseball on Friday for “intentionally throwing” at New York’s Kevin Youkilis, the right-hander’s second penalty in two years for aiming at a hitter.
Carrasco had just completed serving a five-game suspension for a fastball thrown at Kansas City’s Billy Butler in 2011 when he drilled Youkilis with a high-and-too-tight fastball in the fourth inning of the Yankees’ 14-1 win on Tuesday, moments after giving up a two-run homer to Robinson Cano.
MLB officials appeared to take Carrasco’s history into account with the punishment, which included a $3,000 fine. Carrasco was optioned to Triple-A Columbus on Wednesday and will not start serving the suspension until his recall. He was expected to ask the player’s union to appeal.
After drilling Youkilis, Carrasco was immediately ejected from his first major league appearance since Aug. 3, 2011. The 26-year-old missed all of last season following elbow ligament-replacement surgery.
After the game, an emotional Carrasco apologized and said he slipped on the pitch that nailed Youkilis on the left shoulder. Indians manager Terry Francona said he believed his pitcher but also acknowledged “it didn’t look good” and understood that the Yankees were upset.
New York manager Joe Girardi wouldn’t say if he accepted Carrasco’s excuse.
“There’s not much you can do about that now,” Girardi said Thursday before the Yankees and Indians had their game postponed by rain for the second straight day. “It’s unfortunate one of our players got hit. Only he truly knows what he did in his heart. So for me to play psychologist or predict doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
Moments after Carrasco’s suspension, the Indians activated first baseman/designated hitter Jason Giambi from the disabled list and made three other moves.
The 42-year-old Giambi signed as a free agent with Cleveland in February. Francona intends to use Giambi, who was a finalist for Colorado’s managerial job, as a part-time DH against right-handers and pinch-hitter. Giambi’s biggest role is as a mentor to Cleveland’s younger players.
Giambi enters the season with 429 homers.
The Indians also recalled left-hander Nick Hagadone from Columbus, placed reliever Matt Albers on the paternity list and optioned Corey Kluber to Columbus.
Cleveland was forced to make several roster moves because of Carrasco’s ejection. Brett Myers was brought in to finish Tuesday’s game and was battered for seven runs in 5 1/3 innings.
The Indians also brought up Kluber, who would have been the club’s seventh starter in nine games before Wednesday’s game was washed out. The postponements allowed the Indians’ pitching staff to regroup after the Yankees scored 25 runs in two games, recording 11 extra-base hits on Tuesday.
Carrasco won eight games for the Indians in 2011 before his elbow injury. He went winless in his last six starts, which included an ejection from a July 29 outing for throwing at Butler’s head. Butler was targeted by Carrasco, right after the pitcher gave up a grand slam to Melky Cabrera.
Carrasco didn’t win one of Cleveland’s starting jobs during training camp, but the Indians had him on their 25-man roster so he could serve his suspension, which was reduced from six games to five.
The Indians acquired Carrasco in 2009 as part of the trade that sent Cy Young winner Cliff Lee to Philadelphia.