Salazar getting chance to reclaim rotation spot
Right-hander tabbed to start middle matchup against Twins; McAllister moving to bullpen
MINNEAPOLIS -- When right-hander Danny Salazar takes the mound for the Indians on Saturday, it will not be a spot start. Cleveland is hoping that Salazar makes the most of his opportunity and resumes his previous role as a fixture in the starting rotation.
"I have to show them that I've been working hard," Salazar said. "I have to prove it."
Cleveland will officially recall Salazar prior to Saturday's 2:10 p.m. ET game against the Twins, but the right-hander was already on hand at Target Field on Friday. The Indians will have to make a corresponding roster move to add Salazar, who will assume the rotation spot previously filled by right-hander Zach McAllister.
McAllister has been moved to the bullpen for the foreseeable future.
"I think Zach's going to be a starter in the Major Leagues," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "But right now, I think he can really help us as a weapon in the bullpen."
Salazar, 25, made one start for Triple-A Columbus, logging six shutout innings against Indianapolis on April 10. The hard-throwing righty struck out seven, allowed four hits and issued no walks in the impressive effort. Beyond the pitching line, Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway said reports indicated that Salazar showed drastic improvement with his slider.
"If he can do that," Callaway said, "throw the ball over the plate with some command, and throw that secondary pitch for a strike to set up that changeup, he's going to be good to go."
Salazar did not look good to go in the spring, when he posted 8.18 ERA in 11 Cactus League innings. The righty's velocity was strong and he struck out 15 in that sample, but his command was all over the map, and Cleveland felt he needed more work at Triple-A before joining the big league club.
"I think I was working a lot, but maybe I was focused on other things than pitching," Salazar said. "The whole offseason, I was working on building my body and all that. Maybe I was focusing more on that than pitching.
"That's probably a good assessment, especially coming from him," Callaway said. "Obviously, his routines and things like that we've stressed to him a great deal. Maybe he kind of went overboard and forgot about, 'Hey, I've still got to go out there and get some outs,' from time to time."
• Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco, who was hit on the right side of the face with a line drive on Tuesday, worked through a 35-pitch bullpen session Friday. Carrasco remains on target to start for Cleveland on Monday night against the White Sox in Chicago.
"He looked really good," Callaway said. "His jaw is a little sore. He has trouble eating a little bit, but other than that he's fine."
• Francona indicated that utility man Zach Walter, who is on the 15-day disabled list due to a right oblique injury, could be cleared to begin a Minor League rehab assignment within the next few days.
• Veteran outfielder Nick Swisher (on the 15-day DL while rehabbing from double knee surgery in August) might be ready to begin a Minor League rehab assignment within the next week.