Starter Fausto Carmona, a close friend of Lara's, has been in regular contact with him throughout Spring Training."When we talk," Carmona said through interpreter Dennis Malave last week, "he sounds really happy with the way he's doing right now."
Before the injury, Lara was one of the more promising relievers in the upper ranks of the Indians' Minor League system. He pitched in one game for the Tribe in 2007, working 1 1/3 innings against the Angels on Sept. 4. He spent the rest of the year at Triple-A Buffalo, where he went 4-3 with a 3.88 ERA and two saves in 52 appearances.In September 2006, Lara, a product of the Indians' Dominican Academy, made his big league debut and pitched in nine games for the Indians, posting a 1.80 ERA. The Indians, whose 40-man roster now stands at 39, could have handled this situation in a multitude of ways, including designating him for assignment or placing him on the 60-day disabled list. "We felt this option puts Juan in the same place he would have been prior to the injury," Antonetti said. "We'll accommodate him the same way as if he was on an option in the Minor Leagues for us."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.