PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — New York Mets pitcher Carlos Carrasco is uncertain to be ready for the start of the season after elbow soreness forced him to stop throwing.
New York manager Luis Rojas said the right-hander, who turns 34 on March 21, started spring training workouts behind other players after receiving additional medical evaluation. Carrasco is in remission from leukemia and had the novel coronavirus vaccine.
“He’s been experiencing some body aches because of the second vaccine that he got yesterday, so we’ve been paying close attention to that with him. But also he’s experienced some soreness in his elbow right now, apparently coming from the live BP (batting practice) that he threw the other day,” Rojas said Wednesday. “Right now, this is nothing too concerning from a medical standpoint. So he’s just going to take a few days off without throwing, and we expect him to be back maybe by the end of next week facing live batters.”
Carrasco was traded by Cleveland with All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor on Jan. 7 for young infielders Andres Gimenez and Amed Rosario along with a pair of minor league prospects: right-hander Josh Wolf and outfielder Isaiah Greene.
Carrasco is projected to be part of rotation with two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, Taijuan Walker and David Peterson.
“He is making this sound like it’s something that’s happened before and then he just goes through it, some elbow soreness, and gets right back on the mound,” Rojas said.
New York opens April 1 at Washington and Rojas said it’s too early to determine whether Carrasco can build up his arm by the first turn in the rotation.
Carrasco missed three months of the 2019 season while fighting leukemia. He pitched through the coronavirus pandemic, going 3-4 in 12 starts with a 2.91 ERA, his best since a career-best 2.55 ERA in 2014, when he split time between Cleveland’s rotation and bullpen. He has an 88-73 career record with a 3.73 ERA.
Carrasco is signed at $12 million for each of the next two seasons, part of a deal that includes a $14 million team option for 2023 with a $3 million buyout. The option would become guaranteed if he pitches 170 innings in 2022 and is found to be healthy for the 2023 season.
“We’d rather [be] on the cautious side always and make sure that we’re safe for the long run. This year, we’re playing a marathon again. We want Cookie to be healthy,” Rojas said. “If it got to come to a question where the health is going to be compromised, I think we’re going to be on the safe side starting the season, of course.”