JAY COHEN, AP Sports Writer
CHICAGO (AP) — Cleveland manager Terry Francona just wants Danny Salazar to get healthy. A return to the mound would be a bonus for the Indians.
Salazar had an MRI on Monday in Cleveland and will miss three to four weeks with a forearm injury, sidelining the right-hander for the rest of the regular season and casting doubt on his availability for the playoffs.
Salazar was examined by Dr. Mark Schickendantz, the Indians’ head team physician. He was diagnosed with a mild strain to his flexor musculature.
“When it’s all said and done, getting the news that we did is probably pretty damn good,” Francona said. “I mean it’s musculature as opposed to something with a ligament.”
Cleveland began the day with a seven-game lead in the AL Central over second-place Detroit. If the Indians make it to the playoffs, a healthy Salazar likely would serve as their No. 3 starter behind Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, but Francona said it was too early to speculate on what he might be able to do in the postseason.
“The one thing we want to do is get him healthy, make sure he knows he’s healthy, because that’s important,” Francona said, “and then if it fits somewhere, good. But the biggest thing is to get him healthy.”
Salazar will get a platelet-rich plasma injection on Tuesday and stop throwing for approximately 10 days. Salazar had Tommy John surgery in 2010 and missed a couple weeks in August with right elbow inflammation, but Monday’s MRI showed his ulnar collateral ligament was intact.
The 26-year-old Salazar is 11-6 with a 3.87 ERA in 25 starts. He pitched four innings Friday at Minnesota before he was pulled because of forearm tightness.
“I think he felt this on one pitch,” Francona said.
The injury ramps up the pressure on Trevor Bauer, Josh Tomlin and Mike Clevinger, three possibilities for the playoff rotation if Salazar is unable to go. Bauer goes for his third straight win Tuesday against the White Sox, and Tomlin and Clevinger start the final two games of the series.
“I don’t they need to try to do more than they can,” Francona said. “Every time they start it’s a big night. Every time somebody does well it helps everybody, but it’s always the case.”
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap
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