CLEVELAND – Carlos Carrasco's smile remains brilliant, his mood and outlook are still positive.
Externally, the right-winger of the Indians does not seem different. He is determined not to let cancer change him.
"I've never put anything bad in my mind," said Carrasco. "It's okay, so I do not feel different, I'm pushing myself to work harder to get stronger."
Reached chronic myelogenous leukemia last month, 32-year-old Carrasco met with reporters on Thursday for the first time since his life took a dramatic and unexpected turn. Carrasco was confronted with so many unknowns and never asked "why me" after learning his condition.
"I'm not that kind of person," he says. "If it happened, it's for a reason."
Carrasco said that he knew for the first time that something was wrong after taking his annual physique early in Arizona spring training. But after further blood tests were done, doctors at the Cleveland Clinic told him that he was suffering from a form of leukemia that could be treated and that he could continue to play as long as he would like it.
He has barely slowed down.
Carrasco organized ranger sessions and recently trained in nearby Lake County (A) while Cleveland hosted the All Star Game.
While he says everything looks normal when he's on the mound, Carrasco does not know he'll be able to represent the Indians this season.
"Dude, I do not know," he says. "I'm right here, I'm just going to take it from day to day, I do not know, I do not have an answer, but I'm happy to be with my teammates."
Carrasco said he was overwhelmed by the support he had received from his teammates, coaches and Cleveland fans.
During his interview, manager Terry Francona held a few steps away from the famous starter, an additional sign of the club's devotion.
Tuesday night, Carrasco felt all the love of baseball.
During the fifth round of the star game, Carrasco marched on the field for the "Stand up to Cancer" salute with Francona teammates and stars Francisco Lindor, Carlos Santana, Shane Bieber and Brad Hand.
While the group was standing in the box of the coach of the third goal, Carrasco had a placard on which was written: "I stand", while the other Indians carried placards on which was written: "Cookie" .
When the group was shown on the giant dash of the stadium, the crowd broke.
Francona described the powerful moment as perfect.
"Smoker," he says. "You talk about putting an exclamation point on it, it was amazing."
The Indian pitcher Mike Clevinger, who was sitting in one of the suites of the canoe, said that seeing Carrasco kissed like this was special.
"As difficult as it was to watch, it was really moving," Clevinger said. "It was good to see him feeling, I know that he knew how much support existed, but to really feel it, not only from the league, but also from the other side of the world. America, behind the scenes, even when you watched Twitter afterwards.
"It was great for him and certainly great for us."
When he arrives every day at Progressive Field, Carrasco said that he was quickly greeted by hugs from his teammates.
Shortly after the Indians became aware of his condition, a meeting was held without him, at which Lindor, Santana, and others vowed to win for their sick teammate.
"All the members of the team, if I could show you, I have about 300, maybe 500, texting each day, asking them how I felt," Carrasco said. "They are special to me.They feel like home.They feel like a family.They always send me a text message, even guys who have already played here before, they send me all the days – it's great. "
Carrasco has chosen not to disclose the type of medical treatment that it receives.
Meanwhile, the Indians are careful not to hurry him.
"There is no plan and I do not mean we do not care," Francona said. "But the idea is that he does everything he can – or anything he can tolerate – because it will do him good, otherwise we do not push him, we just try to be supportive."
And as his teammates have argued, Carrasco has made love.
For the Monday Home Run All-Star derby, Carrasco wore a custom jersey with the names Santana, Lindor, Bieber and Hand on the back.
"The way they supported me, I just came to the game to support them too," he said. "Why not?"