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Righty Otero set to begin rehab assignment

Francona, Tribe still determining Salazar's role
@MandyBell02
July 14, 2019

CLEVELAND -- Dan Otero’s first career stint on the injured list may be nearing its end. Indians manager Terry Francona said on Sunday that the righty reliever will be sent to Class A Short-Season Mahoning Valley on Monday to begin his rehab assignment. Otero won’t be starting the game, but

CLEVELAND -- Dan Otero’s first career stint on the injured list may be nearing its end.

Indians manager Terry Francona said on Sunday that the righty reliever will be sent to Class A Short-Season Mahoning Valley on Monday to begin his rehab assignment.

Otero won’t be starting the game, but he will get into an inning to throw about 15 pitches for the Scrappers. The 34-year-old made his last appearance with the Indians on May 30 in Chicago, giving up four runs on five hits through 1 2/3 frames. He was then placed on the 10-day IL with right shoulder inflammation, but an injury that they didn’t think would sideline him too long got worse when he suffered a setback in Texas nearly a month ago.

Otero was then shut down from throwing for a few days, progressed back into playing catch and recently began throwing bullpen sessions. Prior to the last shaky appearance, Otero had pitched to a 3.27 ERA in his first 19 games (22 innings).

What to do with Salazar?

Danny Salazar will make his second start outside of Arizona on Tuesday for Double-A Akron. Both he and his Minor League coaching staff were very optimistic after his first outing on Thursday, during which he threw 46 pitches and allowed one run on two hits in 2 2/3 innings. He’ll continue to stretch himself out, but the Indians have not yet made a decision on whether they will view him as a starter or reliever if and when the time comes to add him to the big league roster.

“We’ve talked about him a lot,” Francona said. “But I don’t know how you can forecast a month down the road. We might need three starters by then. How’s he come through it? There’s a lot of things we need to find out. Information that we don’t have yet. To say ‘Have we thought about it?’ Well, yeah. But have we made decisions? No. It’s impossible.”

Salazar has been out since 2017, staying at the team’s Spring Training facility in Goodyear, Ariz., since January 2018. He had right shoulder surgery last July.

“In fairness to him,” Francona said. “If starting is more comfortable, bringing him back from this is ... probably the best way to find some success.”

This date in Indians history

2002: Cleveland scored six runs in the ninth inning off Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera, winning 7-4 on a walk-off grand slam by Bill Selby.

Mandy Bell covers the Indians for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MandyBell02.