CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Danny Salazar was sent to Arizona this week to continue rehabbing his right arm, but he wasn’t the only member of the Indians who traveled west.
Right-handers Joe Colon, Shawn Armstrong and left-handed starting pitcher Ryan Merritt each journeyed to Cleveland’s complex in Goodyear, Arizona to continue staying sharp as insurance, just in case an injury were to take place during the Indians’ American League Division Series against the Boston Red Sox.
Infielder Erik Gonzalez is expected to join the quartet of pitchers following Friday’s Game 2 at Progressive Field.
“The reason we left Gonzalez here is we had a couple days of workouts,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “We have a quick turnaround tomorrow in case something happened. But then, once we go to Boston, we have a day off. We’ll have him go out there and play a little bit and if something happens, we can get him back.”
If an injury were to take place during the ALDS, Cleveland would be able to replace the hurt player with any player in their system eligible for the MLB postseason.
However, the replaced player would be disqualified from playing in the next round.
As for Salazar’s plan, the right-handed pitcher (mild right forearm strain) will continue to build up arm strength and could potentially be available in the next round if the Indians advance beyond the ALDS.
“He’s going to throw sides and try to get more aggressive as he goes,” Francona said. “The biggest thing he’s trying to do is get 100 percent healthy. If and when that happens, then we’ll decide what the next step should be.”
NO SECOND LEFTY?
Francona said the Indians considered adding a second lefty in their bullpen for their opening-round series vs. Boston, but Kyle Crockett’s cranky back added to their decision to keep Andrew Miller as their only southpaw.
“Crockett’s back acted up a little bit on him,” Francona said. “That made it a little bit harder to put him on [the roster].”
Cleveland opted to carry 11 active pitchers, three catchers, six infielders and five outfielders on their 25-man playoff roster.
The Indians aren’t ready to script out how they will use their three catchers in the postseason, but Francona indicated that Roberto Perez, with Yan Gomes still working his way back from his fractured right wrist, will likely see the bulk of the starting catching duty.
“Roberto is going to catch,” Francona said. “Yan’s only got two at-bats [under his belt]. That wouldn’t be fair.”
Gomes’ ability to make the roster despite suffering the hand injury three weeks ago was nothing short of remarkable. And even if he isn’t capable of logging every inning behind the plate, the catcher’s presence on the postseason roster can help the Indians in several ways, Francona believes.
“It just allows us a chance to maybe [be more aggressive with our moves],” Francona said. “You get a certain amount of chances a game, if that’s our opportunity to pinch run or pinch hit, we know we have somebody who can go in and catch and throw.
“I just think we all felt like carrying the extra catcher, since we don’t have a crystal ball, has a chance to materialize probably more than carrying another pitcher.”