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Carrasco returns after cancer finding

AKRON — Carlos Carrasco shook off some nerves and returned to the mound.

Two months after being diagnosed with leukemia, everything felt mostly normal for the Indians right-hander.

“It was really special today,” Carrasco said. “Just coming back today out of the bullpen, it feels great.”

Carrasco, who still hopes to pitch for Cleveland again this season, threw one inning of relief Monday night for Double-A Akron against Harrisburg. It was his first outing since being diagnosed in June with chronic myeloid leukemia, a treatable form of cancer.

When he jogged in from the bullpen, Carrasco received a standing ovation from fans at Canal Park. He got another one after striking out his final batter to end the inning.

Carrasco admitted having some jitters beforehand. But once he threw his first pitch, the butterflies were gone.

“Right away I looked back to the scoreboard because I just wanted to find out what was that pitch, and it was 97 (mph),” Carrasco said. “It feels great.”

The 32-year-old is scheduled to pitch again for Akron on Thursday, and he and the Indians will then decide his next step.

His teammates — and Cleveland fans — have rallied around Carrasco. During the All-Star Game in July, he appeared on the field during Major League Baseball’s “Stand Up To Cancer” tribute, and “I Stand With Cookie” T-shirts have become popular around town.

Carrasco said he was touched by the support he received from Akron’s fans.

“Those people were the ones behind me the whole way from day one to now,” Carrasco said.

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