At long last, Salazar on cusp of return

Right-hander nearing rehab assignment; Zimmer suffers setback; Martin clears waivers

June 29th, 2019

BALTIMORE -- is about to be on the clock.

On Saturday, Indians manager Terry Francona said that Salazar will begin his rehab assignment on Sunday in Arizona. The right-hander is expected to throw 30-35 pitches and will likely then be transferred to one of the team’s affiliates.

“We’re not sure yet quite where [he’ll be sent],” Francona said. “But we’ll start the clock tomorrow.”

The “clock” is a 30-day window where Salazar will be able to join one of the Indians' Minor League clubs to build himself back up and get game experience before the team will have to bring him up to the big leagues. Salazar is out of options, so Cleveland would not be able to send him back down after the 30-day time period.

Salazar has been stuck at the team’s Spring Training facility in Goodyear, Ariz., since Jan. 30, 2018. His last Major League appearance came in Game 4 of the 2017 ALDS against the Yankees. He then dealt with right rotator cuff tendinitis at the start of last season before undergoing arthroscopic surgery in July. Now, 515 days after his arrival in the desert, he may finally be nearing his final days in town.

“I think what is most encouraging is that he’s antsy to get out of there, which is good,” Francona said. “But I mean, I think for pitching-wise, I think he’s like, ‘I’m ready to get [after it].’ I think that’s good.”

Zimmer’s slow progression

Outfielder suffered a setback with his shoulder just days before he was to begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Columbus. Since then, he’s only been able to build himself up to throw 60 feet, although he has been hitting without pain.

Zimmer had season-ending surgery on his right shoulder last July. He was making quick progress throughout Spring Training before pulling his oblique on March 23. That sidelined the 26-year-old for a few weeks. Then, he felt pain in his throwing shoulder at the beginning of June that has, once again, slowed down the process.

“We know he’s going to be healthy at some point, it’s just he’s missing the developmental time,” Francona said. “He’s missed as of now, it’s almost a full year. We need him to play.”

Martin clears waivers

Prior to Saturday’s contest, the Indians announced that outfielder had cleared waivers and elected free agency. The outfielder was designated for assignment on June 22 after slashing .199/.276/.343 in 65 games.

“I mean, I don’t know about today or tomorrow,” Francona said when asked if he thought Martin would get picked up by another team. “But I think with injuries and his ability to play center field, yeah.”

This date in Indians history

1984: Brook Jacoby hit a walk-off single in the 13th inning to beat the Rangers, 13-12.