KANSAS CITY -- Indians starter Danny Salazar packed up a pair of boxes after spending a couple days in San Diego for the All-Star Game. He filled one with things he would need on the club's road trip and shipped it to Minneapolis. The other one was sealed and sent home to Cleveland.
"I put my glove in the one going to Cleveland," said Salazar, laughing at himself after a 7-3 win on over the Royals on Tuesday night.
The irony was that Salazar did not even need his glove at the Midsummer Classic.
The Indians had sat down with the hard-throwing right-hander and decided it was best that he not take the mound in his first career All-Star Game. Salazar was pushed back due to arm fatigue in early June and he was dealing with mild elbow soreness at the end of the first half, so pitching in San Diego seemed an unnecessary risk.
Salazar agreed to sit in favor of just soaking up the experience. Still, even though the Indians indicated that the elbow issue was not serious, and that Salazar was scheduled to start against the Royals, it seemed like a red flag. After all, Salazar has undergone Tommy John surgery in his career.
Any concerns about Salazar's arm were erased at Kauffman Stadium, where he wore closer Cody Allen's backup glove while facing the Royals.
It was not the prettiest of outings, but it was effective.
Salazar finished with seven strikeouts and one walk in 6 2/3 innings to earn his 11th win of the year. When his day was done, Salazar's season ERA remained 2.75, which leads the American League.
"To Danny's credit," Indians manager Terry Francona said, "he did a really good job and kept them off the scoreboard for the most part."
Salazar averaged 96 mph with his fastball and worked around four singles through five shutout innings. Kansas City used three more singles and took advantage of a wild pitch for two runs in the sixth. In the seventh, Salazar issued a leadoff walk to Whit Merrifield, who eventually scored Cheslor Cuthbert's sacrifice fly.
Salazar, along with the rest of the rotation, has been the driving force behind Cleveland's rise to the top of the AL Central. That group will also be leaned on as the Indians aim for a deep run into October.
That is why Salazar understood the reasoning behind the club's approach to his All-Star break.
"When we talked to him, he was really mature about it," Francona said. "I don't want to say I was pleased that he didn't pitch [in the All-Star Game], but I was really pleased with the way he handled the conversation."
Salazar was also happy to show he was healthy.
"Yeah, that was nice," he said. "A lot of people, they were making speculation and things like that. But, it was nothing serious. It was something really small and we're on top of that. It's nothing really bad and I think we're doing a good job with all the training and stuff to keep myself healthy."
As for his glove, Salazar will pick it up when he returns to Cleveland. Although, he may consider wearing Allen's glove again.
"If I have to pitch against Kansas City again, I will," he said. "For sure"