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Indians hire Carl Willis as their new pitching coach

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With Mickey Callaway taking over the Mets’ managerial job, the Indians were in need of a pitching coach. They aren’t any longer, though, as the team just announced that they have hired Carl Willis for the job.

This is Willis’ second tour of duty as the Indians’ pitching coach, having served in that role from 2003 through 2009 under manager Eric Wedge. He has spent the past couple of years as John Farrell’s pitching coach with the Boston Red Sox. He also served in Boston.

Four pitchers have won Cy Young Awards under his tutelage: CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Rick Porcello and Felix Hernandez.

 

Carlos Carrasco pitches during game action

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Indians starter Carlos Carrasco was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this summer. He’d been out since June. Despite that diagnosis, he and the Indians insisted that he would make every effort to come back this year. Yesterday he took a big step in that direction, making his first rehab appearance at Double-A Akron.

He only tossed one inning, walking one batter and striking out another. He thew 16 pitches but cranked it up to 97 with his first offering. Not too shabby.

It’s unclear what the timetable is for him returning to Cleveland. If they intend to use him as a starter again he’ll obviously need several more appearances to get stretched out. If he’s to be used as a reliever, fewer obviously. What his stamina level is and will be is also an open question.

However that gets sorted out, it’s good so have him back in action.