Indians’ pitching coach Mickey Callaway called the first spring appearance of right-hander Danny Salazar in a ‘B’ game “very encouraging.”
With several members of the Indians front office, including general manager Chris Antonetti, watching on Field 6 at the Tribe’s Goodyear complex, Salazar threw 21 pitches and struck out three.
One batter reached on an error by the shortstop and Salazar threw a wild pitch to the second before he got him looking.
The third batter grounded out to short, then Salazar followed with two strikeouts. The final batter, 16-year-old prospect Willy Castro, provided a moment of anxiety when he singled up the middle, nearly hitting Salazar in the foot. Before Castro came to the plate, Indians manager Terry Francona had shouted from the dugout, “Got enough for one more?”
Salazar followed closer John Axford to the mound, which gave Callaway an opportunity for a joke.
“I thought it was good. Very encouraging,” Callaway said. “Are we talking about both or just Salazar? He was really good. That’s what we wanted. We wanted him to ease into what he’s got going on right now. He should be ready for two innings in a real game now.”
That is scheduled for Tuesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Salt River, where Justin Masterson is slated to start and go four innings, followed by Salazar.
Callaway said Salazar’s slider and changeup “are there.”
“Fastball command is the main concern this early in spring,” Callaway said. “Once he gets out there a little more extended we’ll see exactly where he is with that. Very encouraging. That’s where we want him to be right now.”
Callaway said Salazar topped out at 95 or 96 mph on the radar gun and averaged around 93.
“That’s pretty good for the first time out … in a ‘B’ game,” Callaway said, chuckling.
The crowd Salazar drew included Indians assistant GM Mike Chernoff and Ross Atkins, vice president of player development. There were at least two radar guns behind the plate, along with a small Indians video camera attached to the screen.