CLEVELAND -- Indians Minor League pitching coordinator Ruben Niebla is home after spending time working with Danny Salazar at Double-A Akron. Niebla felt Salazar was in a much better place, physically and mechanically, when he left the right-hander several days ago.On Tuesday, Salazar was back in the Indians' clubhouse at
CLEVELAND -- Indians Minor League pitching coordinator Ruben Niebla is home after spending time working with Danny Salazar at Double-A Akron. Niebla felt Salazar was in a much better place, physically and mechanically, when he left the right-hander several days ago.
On Tuesday, Salazar was back in the Indians' clubhouse at Progressive Field, continuing his rehab in preparation for his next step: A Minor League rehab outing for Triple-A Columbus on Thursday. During his last outing with Akron, the right-hander allowed three runs in 1 2/3 innings, but Niebla said Salazar's health was more important than the pitching line.
"I think he's in a pretty decent spot," Niebla said. "I think, last game, he just hadn't faced hitters in so long. He was a little hesitant, I thought. I thought he was holding back just a tad, but he felt great, which for me is the No. 1 thing. If he's feeling healthy, he's going to get all this other stuff -- his delivery, his routine -- get it in a better spot."
Salazar has been on the disabled list since June 4 due to a right shoulder issue, but Niebla said there have been no setbacks. After a dismal showing in May -- Salazar went 1-4 with a 6.94 ERA in five starts -- the righty was moved to the bullpen. Salazar made two relief appearances before landing on the DL.
In his next outing, Salazar is schedued to throw around 60-65 pitches, and Chris Antonetti, the Indians' president of baseball operations, said Tuesday that the right-hander will continue to be stretched out as a starter. Given the inconsistency at the back of the Tribe's rotation, the Indians are likely examining the trade market for external help.
Salazar could provide an internal solution, if back at 100 percent. Antonetti said Salazar's progress could impact the approach the Indians take before the non-waiver Trade Deadline on July 31.
"Danny is a big part of that," Antonetti said. "His health, his status and how we feel about his ability to impact us in the second half contributes to that. But, I think we might look a little more broadly, look at all of our pitching alternatives internally, and then try to develop an understanding of what external alternatives might be available, which guys could improve upon the group we might have currently, and what the acquisition cost might be.
"The one thing I would be confident in saying is a healthy Danny Salazar pitching to his capabilities is as good as any player we potentially could acquire externally."
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.