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Carrasco throws first BP since leukemia diagnosis

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Cleveland Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco faced live hitters Friday for the first time since his leukemia diagnosis.

Carrasco, who has been out since June 5, threw pitches to hitters from the Indians’ Class A affiliate.

“It’s a huge boost to him,” manager Terry Francona told reporters on Friday. “Even if this is all he did the rest of the year, you could see how excited he was to do it, that gives us a lift in itself. If it gets to the point that he comes back and helps us pitching, great. But just the fact that he’s on the mound and you see him smiling, that’s good in itself.”

Carrasco, 32, was 4-6 with a 4.98 ERA in 12 starts before he made the announcement that he was being treated for leukemia.

Carrasco had to receive medical clearance before he was allowed to throw against batters. There is no timetable for his return.

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Less than two weeks left in the season, playoff spots are up in the air

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D-backs’ Marte done for season with back injury

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SAN DIEGO — All-Star hitter Ketel Marte has a stress reaction in his back and won’t play for the Arizona Diamondbacks again this season.

The team announced the injury Friday night. Marte was leading the National League with 187 hits when he was shut down, batting .329 with 32 homers and 92 RBIs.

Marte, 25, was out of the lineup Wednesday at home against Miami. The outfielder/second baseman underwent a precautionary MRI after leaving Tuesday’s game in the fifth inning with back stiffness.

“You can’t measure my level of disappointment because he was such an important player to this team, this organization,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “That’s obvious. But what I’ll focus on is what he meant to this team, the development that he showed over the course of this year. That’s all I can look at right now.

“He was a special player, he was a special man, and it’s a special story. We’re going to remember the year he had because of what he went out there and accomplished.”

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Dodgers’ Hill throws pain-free, to start Tuesday

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LOS ANGELES — Dodgers left-hander Rich Hill remains undeterred despite a season in which he missed 12 weeks because of a flexor tendon strain in his pitching elbow and then reinjured his knee last week in the first inning of his return.

Eight days after suffering what was diagnosed as a strained left MCL against the Baltimore Orioles, Hill threw nearly 20 pitches to a handful of teammates Friday afternoon and reported no pain.

He will start against the San Diego Padres on Tuesday, throwing the first two innings, then pitch in the regular-season finale against the San Francisco Giants if all goes well.

Hill, who is less than six months away from his 40th birthday, is still hopeful of helping the Dodgers during the postseason.

“Obviously I’d like that to be as a starter,” he said. “I don’t know how that’s going to be laid out. It’s not my call. My thing is just getting ready.”

Hill had been toying with the position of his left foot on the rubber in hopes of diminishing the pain in his push-off leg. But the biggest difference, he said, was felt by the brace he sported on his left knee during the session. The pain Hill initially felt was from the breaking up of scar tissue, which subsided quicker this time than it did when he experienced something similar during spring training.

“It took three or four days, and then it started to feel pretty good,” Hill said. “I would feel confident to go out there and pitch without the brace, but at the same time I know it’s not a very smart idea to go out there and possibly tweak it again.”

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has said his team would be “a little unconventional” with its fourth starter in the postseason, using a combination of relievers rather than one traditional starting pitcher. The strategy was a byproduct of Hill either being unavailable or not properly stretched out by then. But Hill’s session offered encouragement, even though the extent to which he can help remains hazy.

Roberts didn’t notice Hill compensating for his troublesome elbow or knee.

“He was letting it go,” Roberts said. “We don’t have any information as far as pitch characteristics, but as far as swings, the fastball was coming out well and the breaking ball had the right shape.”

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