CLEVELAND -- Perched inside of the visitor’s dugout and bullpen, various members of the Chicago White Sox looked on as Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco lay motionless in front of the mound. Following what would be his eighth and final pitch, a 1-2 changeup to Chicago left fielder Melky Cabrera, Carrasco’s follow-through carried him into a screaming line drive that appeared to have nicked his left wrist before ricocheting off his jaw.
Play would immediately stop and various members of the Cleveland Indians coaching and training staff -- as well as the White Sox who were on the field at the time -- gathered around as the team attended to the pitcher as he laid still, face down on the ground.
"It was a very tough moment," Cabrera said through a translator. "It was real scary because it hit his face, but it's baseball. You can't control it once you hit the ball."
Immediately after realizing what had happened, Cabrera stood near the mound alongside Carrasco’s teammates and coaches.
"I felt bad," Cabrera said. "I just wanted to see what happened. At the first moment I thought the ball hit directly in his face, but then I realized it was on the side.”
Carrasco and Cabrera have a small history, as the Indians pitcher was previously suspended for throwing at the head of first baseman Billy Butler when both players were members of the Kansas City Royals. Carrasco had just given up a grand slam to Cabrera and took his frustration out on Butler, who managed to avoid the rising fastball.
“That’s beyond the baseball stuff,” said White Sox manager Robin Ventura, whose team improved to 3-4 with a 4-1 victory. “You want to make sure the kid’s alright. Anytime you see someone get hit like that, it’s always scary.”
Carrasco entered the evening having thrown back-to-back 10-strikeout games (dating back to his final start of 2014). Looking to get his team back on track at home after a three-game sweep at the hands of the Detroit Tigers -- a series where first-inning runs were commonplace -- he was instead forced to exit the game early following the unfortunate sequence of events. Carrasco sat on the field for several minutes after getting his bearings back, holding his jaw before rising to his feet and walking to a nearby golf cart with the help of Indians staff members.
“It’s scary, you know,” said Chicago starting pitcher Jose Quintana, who was forced to take the mound for the first time Tuesday shortly after watching his opposing starter leave the field on the back of the cart. “You never want that to happen to you or [anyone]. We hope that he is good now.”
The Indians, who just lost their Silver Slugger catcher, Yan Gomes, to an MCL strain, could ill afford to lose a member of their starting rotation following a rough start to the season. Carrasco was charged with the loss after both of his inherited runners would score later that inning. The only good news for the Indiana came when X-rays on Carrasco’s jaw came back negative and the pitcher was reported as merely being treated for a contusion.
"I heard a few minutes ago that he's OK," Cabrera said. "That's a relief. I feel better with that news. I was very concerned about him."