Cleveland Indians: Francona says Salazar won’t be ready to break camp

 A bit of bad news struck Thursday when Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona said that pitcher Danny Salazar won’t be able to break camp.

It’s odd to look at the injury saga of Cleveland Indians pitcher Danny Salazar. The guy goes from one of the hottest pitchers for the team in recent memory, then gets injured in 2016, and then goes back and forth to the DL. After all of that in 2017, Salazar missed the entirety of the 2018 season with the Indians.

Now we have news that he won’t be starting the 2019 season with the club. To look at a quote taken from Cleveland.com

“He’s going to still be in that rehab mode,” Francona said. “Then we’ll see as he gets going. We’ve seen guys come quick. But everybody’s on their own program. To force it with somebody doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

So that means we won’t be seeing Danny Salazar throwing heat for the Tribe for an even longer period of time. Now, Tito didn’t completely rule out that Danny wouldn’t play during Spring Training. He’s said “he’s not going to be competing to make our club,” but he could still be approaching some games as if they were rehab starts.

I respect the decision to keep Danny at his own pace. The guy hasn’t pitched in over a year and he was inconsistent when he was pitching in 2017. But Salazar was a potential bullpen option for the Tribe. Between Cody Anderson and him, we have two pitchers with questionable futures on this team.

I do have some optimism here (as I always do). Salazar may not make the club at the start of the season, but if all goes well during Spring Training, maybe the guy can go straight to Triple-A Columbus and continue to make starts there. At best I would like to see him play in the majors in late April or early May. Again, that’s just my optimistic personality talking.

How good was Danny?

For those who don’t recall what it was like to watch Danny Salazar pitch before all of the injuries, it was certainly interesting. His average fastball had a velocity of about 96mph. In fact, the guy rarely threw a pitch below 80mph.

He was known for his heat but he had a nasty changeup that caused 26.51% of hitters to whiff on it. That was all up to the 2016 season. In 2016 he went 11-6 with a 3.87 ERA. Not the best, but certainly not bad for a number 4 starter.

He even donned the “Wild Thing” nickname for a bit and used the famous Ricky Vaughn music when he pitched. When he was at his best, he was known for his strikeouts. He even had a career-high 12.67 K/9 in 2017 when he was actually playing.

He had his struggles like everyone. His strikeout to walk ratio wasn’t very good and induced a lot of hard-hit balls. Over 25% of his batted balls were considered hard-hit, actually. This also resulted in a lot of line drives and fly balls.

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Now we all have to play the waiting game with Danny. I’d love to see him come out and take Spring Training by storm, but that’s just wishful thinking. Get well soon, Wild Thing.

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