CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – After Danny Salazar labored through his shortest outing of his career and gave up six runs on Monday night, many feared the worst when it was revealed the righty was scheduled to undergo an MRI on his elbow on Tuesday.
But it appears, at least for now, Cleveland has avoided any doom and gloom scenarios.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Indians placed right-handed hurler Danny Salazar on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation. Salazar is expected to miss 2-3 weeks after receiving a cortisone injection, but results of an MRI revealed no structural damage.
“The idea was, you look up at the gun, there’s some 97s and things like that,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “But I think in the back of his head, he’s a little nervous he’s going to feel it or he can’t quite let loose or he’s not quite the same. So after talking to him, to the doctors, we decided to go ahead and do this for his peace of mind.”
The talented hard-thrower has struggled over his past five starts (7.88 ERA) and has been experiencing discomfort in his right elbow since prior to the All-Star Break, he indicated following Monday’s loss to the Minnesota Twins. It was also a big reason why he did not pitch in the All-Star Game in San Diego.
Salazar underwent Tommy John Surgery on his right arm in 2010, so perhaps the fear that this could be something more severe also played into his recent tentativeness on the mound.
“We all know that Danny is learning that you maybe not always are 100 percent, and trying to find a way to get through that during a game,” Francona said. “But we also need to be cognizant that, ‘OK, if this is what can help Danny be really good, we need to help him.’ And that’s why we listened to him today also.”
Salazar was sent for further examination on Tuesday morning for precautionary reasons and to get more answers. After receiving the shot in his elbow, the righty will avoid throwing for 5-7 days before beginning his rehabilitation process.
“I think we’re pretty confident that just about when his DL time is up, he’ll be ready to resume starting again,” Francona said.
“What we can do now is give him a couple weeks of a lot of work, a lot of training room stuff, and hopefully he comes back in a couple weeks and he’s the Danny we kind of relied on in the first half.”
In the short-term, right-handed rookie Mike Clevinger will get the start in Thursday’s four-game series finale against the Minnesota Twins at Progressive Field. Josh Tomlin, the original scheduled starter, will be pushed back to Friday’s opener at Yankee Stadium in New York.
WELCOME, MR. GUYER
Outfielder Brandon Guyer, who was acquired in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays prior to Monday’s MLB Trade Deadline, took Salazar’s spot and was added to the 25-man roster on Tuesday afternoon.
Guyer’s no. 6 jersey hung in the locker directly to the left of veteran infielder Juan Uribe’s former space in the Tribe’s clubhouse.
The scuffling Uribe was designated for assignment to make room for reliever Andrew Miller on the 40-man roster prior to Monday’s game.
The 30-year-old outfielder, who has owned left-handed pitching over his five-year MLB career (.338/.482/.585 in 2016), believes he will be a good fit for Cleveland’s roster.
“Whether it’s going to be to face left-handed pitchers, play wherever in the outfield, run the bases, do little things to help the team win, I think I can bring a lot to the table,” Guyer said.
His new manager agrees.
“The kid plays hard,” Francona said. “He’s a gamer. Can play all three [outfield spots]. Can play everyday if need be… In a best case scenario not playing everyday but playing enough to impact when needed. And I think it’s a really good complementary player to our roster.”
Tyler Naquin and Lonnie Chisenhall will continue to log the majority of their at-bats against right-handed pitching, and Guyer and Rajai Davis will find their way into the lineup when Cleveland faces a left-handed starter, which should accent what each player does well.
“We have talked about that so often that I think we are getting much more closer to having guys that complement each other,” Francona said. “So when we play a lineup, we have the platoon advantage when we want it. If they bring a pitcher from the bullpen, we can have an answer.”
THANKS FOR THAT
Francona’s decision to bring in his newest bullpen arm, Andrew Miller, during Monday’s blowout loss to the Twins was perplexing to some, but the dominant lefty was thankful for the opportunity to immediately get in a game.
His debut outing with Cleveland marked Miller’s first time on the mound since July 26.
“I just think it was nice to get out there,” he said. “I need to work with these catchers, just kind of get my feet on the ground here. In that situation, I just want to throw strikes and keep the game moving.”
Unfortunately for him, Joe Mauer, the first batter Miller faced, clubbed a solo homer to right field, greeting the southpaw in the rudest way possible. Regardless of the outcome, Miller was appreciative of the opportunity to shake off some of the rust.
“A wise person once told me, in the bullpen, you either pitch too much or you pitch too little,” he said. “It’s our job to find a way, whatever situation you’re in, you go out there and perform. Whether that’s grinding through pitching too much or finding a way to stay sharp when you’re not getting out there very often. That’s up to us to figure out, hopefully find a way.”
Reliever Jeff Manship (DL, right wrist tendinitis) has progressed to playing catch from 90 feet, righty Tommy Hunter (DL, non-displaced fracture in lower back) threw off a mound on Tuesday, and reliever Joe Colon (DL, right shoulder inflammation) is scheduled to throw a simulated game at Progressive Field on Wednesday.
Additionally, outfielder Michael Brantley (DL, right shoulder/biceps) continues to hit off a pitching machine in the batting cage. However, there is still no updated timetable for when the left-handed hitter will resume a Minor League rehab assignment.
“He had a good day [on Tuesday] and he’s kind of fired up about it,” Francona said of Brantley. “He’s doing good. His volume has been extensive.”