"We're going to probably keep an eye on him," Francona said with a hearty laugh before Sunday's 4-0 win over the Tigers. "My guess is he'll be able to bounce back."
The one-pitch, one-out Major League debut in Saturday's 6-0 loss to the Tigers was the beginning of Soto's September audition for the Tribe. Prior to promoting the 24-year-old lefty from Triple-A Columbus on Friday, Cleveland had been operating with only one lefty (Kyle Crockett) in the bullpen.
As the Indians begin planning for 2016, evaluating Soto as a potential bullpen option will be one of the team's priorities for the remainder of this season.
"In three weeks or four weeks, you're probably not going to find out all that you want," Francona said. "But, I'd be willing to bet we'll find out more than if we wouldn't have called him up. It'll also take the burden off [Crockett]."
In 46 appearances at Triple-A this season, Soto posted a 2.68 ERA with 51 strikeouts and 29 walks in 53 2/3 innings. He was not strictly a left-on-left reliever, either. Soto held right-handed batters to a .162 average (.497 OPS) in 111 at-bats and lefties to a .221 (.596 OPS) in 77 at-bats this year in the Minors. Cleveland wants to see if that success will carry over against Major League hitters.
"That's what we'll see," Francona said. "Can he get the breaking ball down by their ankles to the right-handers? He's got that sweeping breaking ball that should be tough against left-handers, and that's probably more of the first thing you want to find out. Is he able to pitch in the strike zone, and then go out of the strike zone when he gets ahead?"
• Right-hander Carlos Carrasco (on the 15-day disabled list since Aug. 26 with right shoulder inflammation) felt fine on Sunday morning, following a bullpen session on Saturday in Detroit. Francona said Carrasco remains on target to be activated from the DL on Tuesday for a start against the White Sox.
"We'll keep an eye on his pitch count, because he was down for a couple of weeks," Francona said. "We just wanted to knock that out of there and we did, and he's fine."
• Indians catcher Roberto Perez underwent a precautionary X-ray following Saturday's game after being hit on the right forearm by a foul tip early in the game. Francona said everything checked out fine with Perez, who had a scheduled day off for Sunday's afternoon game against the Tigers.
"He's OK," Francona said. "Our concern was kind of obvious. Even though he wasn't playing today, you don't want to have your backup catcher all of a sudden show up the next day and be hurting, when it's September and you could've had somebody here [from the Minors]."