MINNEAPOLIS -- Adding a fresh arm may be exactly what the Indians' struggling bullpen needs.
"His velocity hasn't climbed yet up to what it will be, but I think he's really tried to kind of overhaul his delivery -- like his arm action," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "And I just feel like he was in a place now where let's get him here. We thought he was in a good enough place where he could come up and hopefully help us, but not set him back either."
Prior to the injury, the 26-year-old made eight starts for the Indians, posting a 4.74 ERA with a 1.47 WHIP, 32 strikeouts and 19 walks in 43 2/3 innings. He was called on early in the year after the Tribe lost Mike Clevinger to an upper back strain and Adam Plutko, who often would be the first call out of Triple-A, was rehabbing a forearm strain.
"For a while there he saved our [rear]," Francona said. "There's a lot of guys you could say that about. But I mean we were kind of dipping pretty quickly and we didn't know if Jefry was ready. I don't think we lied about that. He came up and competed, and for the most part, threw the ball over the plate and kind of kept it on the ground and did a good job."
Now that he's back, he's expected to pitch as a reliever who can work two or three innings.
"That's the idea," Francona said. "If he gets on a roll, you can leave him out there."
Salazar, meanwhile, recently received permission from the team to take some time away from baseball and has returned home to Tampa, Fla. The 29-year-old missed all of last season before returning to start against the Astros on Aug. 1, more than a year after undergoing right shoulder surgery. However, he suffered a groin strain in his first game back.
Salazar made three rehab appearances with Double-A Akron but did not feel physically right in his last one, prompting him to request time off. He has one year of arbitration eligibility remaining but is a non-tender candidate this offseason.
With the recent rut the Tribe's relief corps has fallen into, more eyes have been put on right-hander James Karinchak, who is the club's No. 21 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. The 23-year-old started the year hot, carrying a 0.00 ERA through 13 games, but a hamstring injury sidelined him until the end of July. He's since pitched to a 5.65 ERA (nine earned runs in 14 1/3 innings).
"His stuff is undoubtedly really good," Francona said. "Sometimes when young pitchers have stuff that's that good, some of the other parts of their game come later: holding runners, fielding their position. I mean, it's not necessarily their fault. There hasn't been a whole lot of runners. But those are things we know when he gets here, whenever that may be, that's something that's gonna have to get better."
This date in Indians history
1986: Joe Carter went 5-for-6 with two home runs, two doubles, four RBIs and five runs scored in a 17-9 win over Milwaukee.