CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – It appears everything is lining up for Danny Salazar to be activated from the disabled list on Thursday.
Salazar, who threw a simulated game following Sunday’s game at Progressive Field, will likely take the ball in the three-game series finale against the Chicago White Sox.
The hard-throwing right-hander was able to throw all of his pitches in Sunday’s short session, and for the first time in his recovery, Salazar was able to feel comfortable throwing at maximum effort.
“I was trying to just do something like a sim game, something like I was facing a guy,” he said. “Even though I know he’s not swinging, it got me pumped up a little bit like being in a game.”
The 26-year-old righty landed on the 15-day DL earlier this month due to right elbow inflammation. Salazar had been experiencing some discomfort in his pitching elbow since prior to the All-Star Break, but results of an MRI showed nothing alarming.
The elbow issue caused Salazar to struggle in his five starts leading up to the DL stint, posting a 7.88 ERA in those outings.
Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway believes this is all part of Salazar’s growing understanding of what it takes to pitch through a rigorous 162-game MLB season.
“I think he’s going to learn that until he gets up there in the [Corey] Kluber range,” Callaway said.
“I think Kluber had to learn that… Once you’ve done it a few times, then you get used to it. Until then, it’s a learning process and I think Danny’s learning that, as far as, ‘Hey, what do I have to do in between starts to get ready for the next start. Once I get to a certain innings threshold, what do I need to do? Do I need to back off? Do I need to do more?’ I think he’s learning those things.”
Despite the short time off, Cleveland did not feel a Minor League rehab stint was necessary. Instead of an appearance at one of the Tribe’s affiliates, the team felt a simulated game-type session would be more beneficial to his recovery.
“It was just to get it so the transition to pitching wasn’t quite as maybe drastic,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “Just part of what of we’re trying to think, protect [him]. Because Danny throws so hard, all the sudden he feels good, he’s throwing 98, then the next start he’s stiff. We’re trying to kind of manage that the best way we can.”
Salazar was selected as an American League All-Star this season.
The right-hander is 11-4 with a 3.38 ERA in 20 starts in 2016, striking out 133 and walking 51 in 117 1/3 innings.