Rainout gives Indians’ rotation time to regroup

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco throws in the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees, Tuesday, April 9, 2013, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
April 10, 2013, 4:33 PM

CLEVELAND — Corey Kluber wasn’t needed after all. Rain at least diluted Cleveland’s pitching problems for one day.

And maybe cooled off the Yankees.

Recalled from Triple-A Columbus to make an emergency start against New York, Kluber never even got a chance to warm up as the Indians and Yankees were postponed by rain Wednesday night. After the start was delayed for 50 minutes, the third game of the four-game series was postponed with no makeup scheduled.

The teams will play the series-shortened finale on Thursday night, weather permitting. With the forecast for more showers, there’s no guarantee they’ll get it in. The Yankees will return at a future date to play the makeup.

The washout gave the Indians’ jumbled rotation a day to regroup after the Yankees scored 25 runs in Cleveland’s first two home games.

Earlier, the Indians were sent into scramble mode following Tuesday night’s game when starter Carlos Carrasco was ejected for hitting Kevin Youkilis with a pitch and manager Terry Francona chose to use Brett Myers, who had been scheduled to start on Wednesday, to pitch the final 5 1-3 innings of a 14-1 loss.

Kluber was promoted, Carrasco was optioned to the minors and the Indians were in line to use their seventh starter in nine games.

They needed a break, and they got one.

“Hey, this can be a nice little pick-me-up for the staff,” pitching coach Mickey Callaway said. “It’s a day to relax, come out the next day and go get ‘em.”

Zach McAllister will start Thursday against New York’s Phil Hughes. Now that he’s no longer penciled in for a start, Kluber will work out of the bullpen.

Francona is hoping Carrasco can duck another suspension.

Carrasco, who just finished serving a suspension for throwing at Kansas City’s Billy Butler in 2011, is facing further discipline after he was ejected in the fourth inning Tuesday for hitting Youkilis in the left shoulder — one pitch after giving up a two-run homer to Robinson Cano.

Following the game, an apologetic Carrasco, who was making his first appearance in 18 months after missing last season following Tommy John surgery, said he slipped on the pitch to Youkilis.

“I’m just telling the truth,” Carrasco said. “That’s what happened.”

Carrasco faces a sentencing from Joe Torre, Major League Baseball’s executive director of baseball operations who hands out suspensions and fines.

Francona understands that it didn’t look good, but he doesn’t think Carrasco should be penalized.

“I hope not,” Francona said when asked if he thought Carrasco would be suspended. “I know how it looked and I also know what he told me. I believe him. I know the league has to do their thing, and I fully respect that. The league is pretty good about listening and I know they have a job to do, too.”

Carrasco’s ejection led Francona to bring in Myers, who was rocked for seven runs. It also sent in motion a series of moves, which included Carrasco being sent to Triple-A Columbus and Kluber being recalled from the Clippers.

After Youkilis was nailed, plate umpire Jordan Baker tossed the ball back to Carrasco, who didn’t even realize he had been ejected until he was told by teammate Asdrubal Cabrera. Francona came out and argued with Baker as Yankees manager Joe Girardi watched to see what was going to happen.

Francona said Baker’s actions were puzzling to Carrasco.

“I think Carlos got a little confused by the umpire’s reactions because I know it confused me,” Francona said. “I’m not saying the umpire is wrong, I just don’t think Carlos knew what he was doing because I didn’t know what he was doing.”

When the game ended, Carrasco was waiting outside Francona’s office to apologize. Later, the 26-year-old was emotional as he explained to reporters that he didn’t purposely throw at Youkilis.

Francona said after speaking with Carrasco that he was confident he didn’t throw at Youkilis, who is close to Cleveland’s manager after playing for him in Boston.

“I believe he slipped last night,” Francona said. “That wasn’t Kevin Youkilis’ fault. The game has a way of taking care of itself sometimes when it needs to. That’s not what happened last night and I fully believe that. Nobody on their team needed to be hit and nobody got hit intentionally.

“What they needed to do was hit some balls at people.”

NOTES: Francona remains tight with Youkilis, who spent eight seasons with him in Boston. It’s taking him some time to get used to seeing Youkilis with the Yankees. “He does look funny in that uniform still,” Francona said. “It’s hard to picture him in that.” Francona said Youkilis has always been an emotional player, and the Red Sox learned it was best to let him remain one. “He was throwing a lot of helmets and we were trying to get him to calm down,” Francona said. “We realized we were taking away what made him good. So we just learned to get out of the way.” … Indians 1B Nick Swisher has hit safely in his last 18 games at Progressive Field. … The Indians are opening the season with 13 of their first 16 games against AL East teams. … The rainout also postponed a chance for Kluber to pitch on his birthday. He turned 27.

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