CLEVELAND: A day after Indians rookie Danny Salazar’s impressive start in his major-league debut, there was still quite a buzz Friday around Progressive Field.
The right-hander took a no-hitter into the sixth inning Thursday against visiting Toronto, earning the win after limiting the Blue Jays to a run on two hits. His seven strikeouts were the most by an Indians pitcher making his big-league debut since Luis Tiant in 1964.
“The main object is to win a game and that can get lost sometimes when a guy has a spot start,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “Especially when you don’t quite know how deep he’ll get into the game. But because he was so effective, he set up the whole day for our bullpen, not to mention the way he threw.”
Even if Salazar, 23, hadn’t been so dominating, Francona said, “It wouldn’t have detracted from how we view his future. But for everybody to see what’s in there was a bright spot for our entire organization. All the days I sit around and tell you the glass is half full — [Salazar’s] one example.”
BEING CAUTIOUS — With such a promising start, many fans wondered why the Indians optioned Salazar to Triple A Columbus on Friday.
Francona explained the reasoning being a mix of using the roster spot to carry an extra arm in the bullpen for the final three days before the All-Star break and the team waiting to see how right-hander Zach McAllister does in his first rehab appearance (scheduled for four innings) today at Double-A Akron.
“A lot of that will be decided upon how Zach’s doing,” Francona said.
The Indians brass continues to be cautious with Salazar, as the Dominican Republic native returns from Tommy John surgery in 2010.
“He threw 80 innings last year,” Francona said. “You have to be cognizant of that.”
RIGHT STUFF — Anyone who followed Thursday’s game likely understood how impressive Salazar’s “stuff” was. But what really impressed some baseball folks was the way Salazar conducted himself with a veteran’s savvy.
“He warmed up like normal, when a lot of times you’ll see a young kid down there just blowin’, ” Francona said. “But he warmed up about 91-92 [mph] and then came in the game and let it fly, but commanded. Then when there were base runners, his tempo was good, but to the point where he was hyperventilating.
“When runners got on base, he did a terrific job with the running game, even though you’re talking about new signs for the first time. Nothing threw him, nothing made him step back. He held the ball when he needed to; he delivered it in good time.”
LITTLE BREATHER — Center fielder Michael Bourn wasn’t in the Tribe’s starting lineup Friday thanks to a scheduled day off — a bonus of the club’s flexibility.
“With the way our roster works, we can move Stubby [Drew Stubbs] to center, play [Ryan] Raburn and [still] hopefully get production,” Francona said.
Bourn had two RBI as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning.
— Stephanie Storm