Indians’ Carrasco suspended 8 games

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CLEVELAND (AP) - Another dangerous pitch has Carlos Carrasco in trouble again.

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 Joe Garagiola Jr. and Joe Torre 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.

Following 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.”

Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said the club expected some penalty.

“We knew that was a possibility because of how it looked,” said Antonetti, who spoke with Garagiola. “Carlos has been very consistent that it wasn’t intentional. He’s accountable for how it looked. He said `I realize it looks bad, but I can assure you it wasn’t intentional.’”

Antonetti said his conversation with Carrasco convinced him the pitcher did not throw at Youkilis on purpose. The Indians are not upset with Carrasco.

“He was consistent when I talked with him and the only person who knows whether or not it was intentional is Carlos, and he was very convincing in the time he talked with Terry and the time he talked with me,” Antonetti said.

“So the results are disappointing because it ultimately led to an additional suspension.”

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 has been as a mentor to Cleveland’s younger players, and Francona has already seen the veteran’s influence.

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