Back on the bump for the first time since being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in June, Carlos Carrasco was in his comfort zone Monday night.
The 10-year Major League veteran made a one-inning rehab appearance in the Eastern League, yielding a walk while striking out one, in Double-A Akron's 7-4 loss to Harrisburg at Canal Park.
Video: Indians' Carrasco returns to mound with 'Ducks
"Those two-and-a-half months for me were unbelievable," he told reporters after the game. "I learned a lot and I worked a lot on myself too."
The radar gun also helped erase his angst.
"The first pitch was 97 [mph]," Carrasco noted to MLB.com. "Right away, I looked back to the scoreboard because I just wanted to find out what I was pitching -- 97. It felt great."
Gameday box score
Carrasco entered in the sixth inning. He walked Rhett Wiseman, then coaxed a flyout to center field by Andrew Stevenson. Wiseman was thrown out by catcher Logan Ice while attempting to steal second base for the second out. The right-hander whiffed Phillies No. 6 prospect Luis Garcia on a 3-2 pitch to end the frame. He finished with 16 pitches, nine for strikes.
"It was a lot of emotion," he told the media. "Those two-and-a-half months, my family has always been there. I was really excited to see my kids smile."
The 32-year-old has made only two relief appearances over the past five seasons with Cleveland. Pitching out of the bullpen Monday night required a different mind-set.
"I felt a little bit nervous," he admitted. "As soon as I started throwing in the bullpen, everything was back to normal. For me, it was like we were playing an extra inning. It was something way, way different."
Carrasco has a 4-6 record with a 4.98 ERA in 12 starts this season with the Indians. He stands 83-68 with a 3.78 ERA in 219 big league appearances.
2019 MiLB include
According to the American Cancer Society, acute myeloid leukemia starts in the bone marrow, where new blood cells are made, and most often quickly moves into the blood. AML typically develops from cells that would turn into white blood cells, which help the body fight infections.
Acute myeloid leukemia is one of the most common types of leukemia in adults. Still, AML is uncommon before the age of 45. The American Cancer Society reports the average age of people first diagnosed with AML is about 68.
"This is what I have," he told the media. "I want to get stronger, working on myself. The only thing I put [in my mind] is good thoughts, never bad. Just coming back home, with my family, I forget what I had."