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Salazar (groin strain) returns to injured list

Recently acquired right-handers Wood, Maton join relief corps mix
@castrovince
August 2, 2019

CLEVELAND -- Danny Salazar’s return to the Indians’ rotation lasted all of four innings, Tyler Olson’s bout with shingles has apparently lasted nearly two months, and now as a result, both pitchers found themselves on the 10-day injured list Friday. The Indians promoted two recently acquired right-handed relievers -- Hunter

CLEVELAND -- Danny Salazar’s return to the Indians’ rotation lasted all of four innings, Tyler Olson’s bout with shingles has apparently lasted nearly two months, and now as a result, both pitchers found themselves on the 10-day injured list Friday.

The Indians promoted two recently acquired right-handed relievers -- Hunter Wood and Phil Maton -- from Triple-A Columbus to fill the roster spots of Salazar, who was set to receive an MRI on his right groin prior to Friday’s game, and Olson, and to temporarily beef up the bullpen.

“I explained to them that we have a lot of moving parts at the moment,” manager Terry Francona said.

Aaron Civale, who pitched six scoreless innings against the Tigers in his big league debut on June 22, will fill Salazar’s spot in the rotation Monday against the Rangers, with Zach Plesac bumped back a day to Tuesday.

This is another chapter in the long saga of medical setbacks for Salazar, who complained of groin discomfort after four innings against the Astros in which he allowed a pair of runs Thursday. It was Salazar’s first big league outing since the 2017 postseason, and the fastball that had reportedly hit 92-93 mph in his Minor League rehab outings, averaged just 86.5 mph against Houston.

With Francona away from Thursday’s game with an eye condition, it was up to Indians coaches Brad Mills and Carl Willis to determine when to pull Salazar. The reports from Columbus were that his velocity crept up as his outings went along, so the pair tried to give Salazar the benefit of the doubt early. And as he accumulated some early outs, they opted not to totally tax the bullpen.

Speaking of the bullpen, Olson surrendered three runs in his 1 1/3 innings of work Thursday -- the final straw in what Francona said has been a six-to-eight-week battle with shingles for Olson, who has a 4.40 ERA in 39 appearances this season.

“I’ve never had [shingles],” Francona said. “I’ve heard people that have had them say that they can be really debilitating. He’s been fighting his way through it. There’s been days that have been worse than others. So we’re going to let him take a deep breath and see if we can maybe get him treated more aggressively without the game hanging over his head.”

The Indians acquired Maton from the Padres in exchange for international bonus slot money on July 12, and he compiled a 3.52 ERA over seven relief appearances for Columbus. He posted a 7.77 ERA across 24 1/3 innings with the Padres before the trade. The Indians also acquired Wood and infielder Christian Arroyo from the Rays on Sunday, and Wood struck out three hitters and gave up a homer in his lone relief appearance for Columbus on Thursday. He compiled a 2.48 ERA across 19 appearances for Tampa Bay (including two starts as an opener) before Sunday’s trade.

Francona returns from eye surgery

In the midst of all the moving parts of Tuesday’s three-team trade and the Salazar and Olson situations, there was a medical ailment sustained by the Indians' manager.

Francona was back for Friday’s game after missing Thursday following surgery to repair a torn retina in his left eye at the Cleveland Clinic.

“My eye had been bothering me for about a month,” Francona said. “I went and saw a doctor about a week ago. He said I checked out OK, [and to] come back in six to eight weeks. I told the trainers, 'Man, six to eight weeks of this? I’m going to lose my mind.' So I’m glad I went back. I went and saw a retina specialist and there was a tear in there, so it’s probably a good thing that I did.”

Kluber on track for sim game

As announced earlier in the week, Corey Kluber (forearm) is indeed throwing a simulated game Saturday.

The Indians will have some hitters from Double-A Akron come to Cleveland to face Kluber, whose next step after that could be a Minor League rehab start.

“It’s dependent on how he feels and how Carl [Willis] feels about it,” Francona said. “They’ll all put their heads together.”

Minutiae of the day

• The Indians traded outfielder Brandon Barnes, who was a Triple-A All-Star for Columbus this season, to the Twins on Friday. Trades involving players on Minor League deals are still allowed after July 31.

• Columbus outfielder Trayce Thompson and reliever Neil Ramirez were released to make room on the Clippers’ roster for Greg Allen and Jake Bauers.

Francona felt Bauers, who along with Allen was optioned to Triple-A when Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes joined the active roster Thursday, had been overthinking in recent weeks.

“Jake was probably letting some of the external things get in the way,” Francona said of Bauers, who was hitting .233 with a .687 OPS. “He said, ‘I let some things bother me that maybe shouldn’t have or that I won’t in the future.‘”

Francona said that the Indians are pleased with the Tyler Naquin/Jordan Luplow platoon in one corner outfield spot and didn’t want to disrupt it.

• Reyes hit a ball in batting practice Friday that cleared the trees beyond the center-field wall.

Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.