Carlos Carrasco cannot wait to join the party.
The right-hander, out since he tore his right hamstring during spring training, is gearing up to make his regular-season Mets debut. After his first rehab start, however, he would not reveal the exact timeline for his return to Citi Field.
“It’s unbelievable. The way they’re playing right now, the way they’re pitching it’s really good,” Carrasco said after he pitched two scoreless innings Thursday night for the High-A Brooklyn Cyclones against the Jersey Shore BlueClaws. “Like I said before, I can’t wait to go out there and pitch. It’s coming soon, I’m really close. More importantly, everything feels fine.”
In his first start since Sept. 25, 2020, the 34-year-old Carrasco struck out two hitters while allowing just one hit and no walks in a 13-3 Cyclones victory in Coney Island. His arm looked strong as he touched 94 mph with his fastball and used his curveball and slider to generate his two strikeouts
The plan for the man they call “Cookie” is to work out at the Cyclones’ ballpark on Friday, then throw a bullpen session Saturday as normal. But, neither Carrasco nor the Mets want to rush him back because of the danger of reinjury.
“The first step, what we did today, is really good and really important. I want to be there and pitch,” Carrasco said. “At the same time, I’ve got to follow the schedule they have for me.”
Carrasco’s return can’t come soon enough for the Mets. They have six other starting pitchers currently on the injured list. They also lost Thomas Szapucki, the team’s No. 10 prospect, to season-ending surgery on his ulnar nerve.
Even with all the turmoil among their starting pitchers, the Mets still boast one of the best rotations in the game. Ace Jacob de Grom, Marcus Stroman and All-Star Taijuan Walker have kept the ship steady, but behind them, the Mets don’t have much depth. The team has used a total of 16 starting pitchers already, the most in MLB — they even had to start reliever Aaron Loup for a game. Carrasco would make it 17.
“It would be huge,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said a couple of weeks ago regarding Carrasco rejoining the team. “As you guys know, we’re in need of starters. We had a couple guys already go down. … Cookie coming in now would be outstanding.”