CLEVELAND — Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco has had the support of his teammates throughout the 2019 season, as he battles chronic myeloid leukemia, and those participating in the 2019 MLB All-Star Game expressed that during the “Stand Up To Cancer” ceremony at Progressive Field Tuesday night.
Carrasco took the field with a sign that read, “I Stand” and was flanked by his four American League teammates, shortstop Francisco Lindor, closer Brad Hand, pitcher Shane Bieber and first baseman Carlos Santana, all of whom held up signs of support barring Carrasco’s nickname “Cookie.”
Also standing by Carrasco’s side was Indians manager Terry Francona.
Carrasco shared hugs with and got personal messages of support from his teammates and Francona following the ceremony.
“I think that was a really special moment, and for him to be doing what he’s doing and kind of turning it over on its head into a positive light and spending more time at the children’s hospital and spending time with kids, it’s something only he would do,” Bieber said.
“He’s a really special person. I’ve only known him for a year, year-plus and he’s -- I said this earlier, but he’s one of the best people I’ve ever met in my life. Nothing but respect for him and we’re standing with him and love him.”
In the moments following the rousing ovation, Carrasco’s teammates not participating in the All-Star Game took to Twitter to express their support and did so with the hashtag, #CookieStrong.
Carrasco’s longest-tenured teammate, second baseman Jason Kipnis, and former Indians pitcher Josh Tomlin were among the first to express their support on social media.
In addition to Kipnis and Tomlin, Carrasco got support from the Indians, as well as from the SportsTime Ohio and All-Star Game official twitter accounts.
After the on-field ceremony, Carrasco walked to the American League dugout, where the entire All-Star team, including former Indians teammate Michael Brantley, shared their support through handshakes and hugs.
On the eve of the MLB All-Star Home Run Derby, the Indians announced that Carrasco has been given the go-ahead to resume strength and conditioning and throwing activities “to tolerance” on his road back to baseball while fighting leukemia.
“I never thought I’d have something like this because I play baseball,” Carrasco said in a video shared to the Indians’ Twitter account during All-Star Week. “I’m super healthy, something like that, but you never know what’s going on inside your body, and when I found out, it made me even stronger.
“I pushed myself to work through this. Then, I have a lot of people behind me, helping me, especially my teammates and family and a lot of people around me. They made me stronger every day. This is going to make me stronger than I’ve ever been.”
One who is always looking to better the community, Carrasco has spent his free time visiting pediatric leukemia patients at Cleveland Clinic Children’s since the diagnosis.