Indians right-hander Danny Salazar was placed on the Disabled List Wednesday with a strained triceps muscle, marking yet another setback for the club’s 2013 No. 1 prospect as ranked by Baseball America.
Salazar, 24, opened this season in the Indians rotation after arriving on the scene with a lot of fanfare in the middle of last year. But this season, Salazar struggled from the start after being held back much of spring training. He went 1-4 with a 5.53 ERA in eight stats with the Tribe before being sent to Triple-A Columbus on May 16 in an effort to straighten out his mechanics that had gotten so out of whack.
But instead of seeing some improvement, Salazar’s struggles worsened. In three starts with the Clippers, he dished up 10 earned runs in just 12 2/3 innings, giving up 21 hits – including three home runs – and eight walks over that short span.
“I think it was a probably a little bit of everything,” Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway said of Salazar’s struggles. “It was kind of a weird spring training for him coming in not totally getting prepared, (it being) his first time making a major league team where his first game really counted instead of (being able to) ease into the season. All those factors kind of contributed.”
Tribe manager Terry Francona downplayed the severity of Salazar’s injury, even describing his problem as “inflammation in his elbow” and guessing he’d miss only one start due to the minors having a seven-day disabled list, instead of the major league’s 15-day DL.
“The way it was explained to me is that if Danny was with us, he would have pitched,” Francona said. “There is nothing structurally wrong with his elbow.”
Callaway shrugged off the possibility of Salazar’s problem having to do with it being his sophomore seasons in the bigs, where young pitchers can struggle once major league hitters have seen him enough to make an adjustment.
“Had he been the same pitcher that he was last year this year and was getting hit around, that might have been the case,” he said. “But we just didn’t see the same guy.”
Still, Callaway said he never thought Salazar appeared to be injured.
“His velocity (this season) was right on where it was should have been, where it was last year and the year before in April,” he said.