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The Sports Daily > Burning River Baseball
What May Be Ailing Carlos Carrasco

The Indians recently received discouraging news about one of their starting pitchers.

Carlos Carrasco is expected to miss his next spring training start because of swelling in his right elbow, according to Paul Hoynes of cleveland.com  However, manager Terry Francona told reporters Tuesday that an MRI showed no structural damage.

But the Indians want to be cautious with Carrasco, who underwent Tommy John surgery in September 2011 and missed the entire 2012 season.

In the aforementioned article, Francona went on to say: “There’s a pretty good chance we’re going to bump him back a start. We’re just trying to work through some stuff. His wife is expecting in about a week to 10 days. We’re trying to figure out between bumping him back and him leaving to be with his wife ; we’re still working our way through that.”

The swelling can be caused by several factors. Most likely, Carrasco’s is due to lateral epicondylitis, or commonly referred to as “tennis elbow.” There is a high incidence of this injury in pitchers and is considered to be one of the most frequent overuse injuries in athletes. An epicondyle is a bony prominence located on either side of the elbow. There are two on each elbow; one on both the outside and inside. “Lateral refers to the outside; Carrasco’s swelling is probably right around the bony prominence on the outside of the elbow.

Lateral epicondylitis is normally caused by poor biomechanics and overuse. Carrasco’s swelling might be due to overuse of throwing his vexing slider, as wrist over-extension is usually the cause of repetitive microtrauma. This injury usually comes on gradually and is not the result of a single incident.

It is often attributed to the deceleration phase (after release of the ball) of throwing, as well as many variables with varying release points. The repetitive stresses eventually cause inflammation and micro-tears of the extensor tendons that attach to the lateral epicondyle, therefore causing pain on the outside of the elbow and forearm.

Carrasco allowed eight runs in 1 2/3 innings Monday against the White Sox, a rough outing that prompted the Indians to have the right-hander examined Tuesday morning. Francona said Tuesday that the Indians are still forming Carrasco’s schedule for the upcoming days, also noting that his wife is due to give birth in the next two weeks.