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There's always so much going on in Northeast Ohio sports, much more than what can fit in our regular Wednesday conversations with Cleveland Plain Dealer sports writer Terry Pluto. Consider it overtime or extra innings.  This is the place to check out Amanda Rabinowitz's ongoing conversations with Terry that are just too good to miss!

The View Beyond Pluto: Cookie's Comeback

a photo of Carlos Carrasco pitching
Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco returned to the team two months after announcing he was diagnosed with leukemia

The Indians are in a battle for the postseason, currently in second place behind the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central Division. But WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto says no matter how the season ends, it will be remembered as the year of Carlos Carrasco's comeback. 

From diagnosis to comeback
Carrasco, who's nicknamed "Cookie", has played for Cleveland for 10 seasons. The 32-year-old was the No. 2 starting pitcher entering the season. On June 5, the Indians announced that he was placed on the injured list with a blood condition.

One month later, just before the All-Star game in Cleveland, he announced he had been diagnosed with leukemia. He spent the rest of summer working his way back. And, on September 1, he made his first appearance since his diagnosis, pitching an inning in relief against the Tampa Bay Rays.

"It's remarkable," Pluto said. "And it's not just he was out there and he could barely get the ball up to home plate. In the minors in his first game, he was throwing between 93 and 97 mph. That's all above average."

They brought out the radar gun. He got up to 94. His slider started to break. He said he wanted to play.

And Pluto said it wasn't an easy comeback. "Jason Kipnis, one of his close friends, gave an interview saying the first dose of medicine they gave him to treat this thing, Carrasco got hit hard by the side effects. So, they had to recalibrate."

Pluto said the Indians agreed to let Carrasco throw to help keep his mind off of things. "He then he said he wanted to throw batting practice. And then throw in the minors. They brought out the radar gun. He got up to 94. His slider started to break. He said he wanted to play."

Pluto said Carrasco gave up a couple hits in his first game back. "Both of them were on sliders and he was so pumped up he was throwing too hard and they kind of hung there. But there wasn't any indication that there was anything wrong."

He's really the senior guy on the team. He's an upbeat guy. He's worked a lot with Cleveland Public Schools supplying books and book bags. He's done charity in Florida where he lives and where he's from, Venezuela. He also taught himself English so he could communicate. You're pulling for a guy that you like personally."

Amanda Rabinowitz has been a reporter, host and producer at WKSU since 2007. After serving as WKSU's Morning Edition host for a dozen years, she moved to afternoons in March of 2022 to become the local host of All Things Considered. In addition to providing local news and weather, she interviews Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com for a weekly commentary about Northeast Ohio's sports scene called The View From Pluto. She also hosts and produces Shuffle, a podcast focusing on Northeast Ohio’s music scene.