Mets’ Carrasco has sore elbow, shut down until next week

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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — New 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 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, and a pair of minor league prospects: right-hander Josh Wolf and outfielder Isaiah Green.

Carrasco is projected to be part of rotation with two-time L 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 when he split 2014 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 being 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.”

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.