Indians

Danny Salazar: “My very first game, I started experiencing some soreness”

Baseball can undergo seismic shifts in a year’s time. The 2016 Danny Salazar was an All-Star for the Cleveland Indians coming off the strongest half season of work of his career. The 2017 Salazar spent the All-Star break making what was presumed to be his last rehab start for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers with the journey of the past year has been marked by a series of injuries and soreness which has plagued Salazar’s ability to be the dominant right-handed starter that he is capable of being.

In his post game interview on Tuesday night, Salazar admitted to spending 2017 with arm issues.

“After my first game this year, my very first game, I started experiencing some soreness in my shoulder,” said Salazar. “I’ve been throwing with that.”

Pitching through soreness certainly would explain why Salazar’s ERA had ballooned from his career average (5.40 ERA in 2017, 3.72 career ERA coming into season) alongside a parallel increase in his FIP (4.85 FIP in 2017, 3.85 career FIP coming into season). The Indians attempted to move him to the bullpen to limit his workloads, in hopes as he said to “listen to the pain.” According to Danny, however, the day on-day off nature of pitching in the bullpen taxed his arm worse.

“When they moved me to the ‘pen, I think throwing, one day off and throwing again, that was very different for me,” Salazar explain. “First time I’ve done that. So, the next day after that I had really bad soreness and a really sharp pinch. And, I think that was it. The toughest part for me was like OK they put me in the ‘pen now so they are going to use me a little less. You know I’m going to throw less pitches in the game and I’m going to rest my arm a little bit. but it didn’t work.”

— Danny Salazar

The “sharp pinch” was revealed to be inflammation through a MRI, which landed him on the DL. Salazar said he is ready to re-join the major league club and the front office has previously confirmed that he is going to be brought back as a starter. The rehabilitation tour has not gone as well as many had expected. Pitching games for the Double-A Akron Rubberducks and Triple-A Columbus Clippers, Salazar struggled. The box scores on his previous two rehab games told the story as Salazar threw for just five innings over two starts, giving up six hits, six runs- including four home runs allowed while striking out seven and walking four.

The start Tuesday at the single-A short season team allowed Salazar to pitch in a low stress environment, while also allowing for Indians fans to build some hope for a return to the form of last year when Salazar’s name on the schedule elicited great confidence: five innings pitched on 71 pitches, 46 strikes, seven strikeouts, two hits and no runs allowed with only one walk. It had been decided pregame that Salazar would go five innings or 75 pitches. Though his numbers haven’t exactly been the best throughout his rehabilitation starts, Salazar offered hope for fans concerned about him regaining his full potential.

“This is the best I’ve been feeling since I went to All-Star last year,” he said. “I’m happy the way I’m feeling right now.”

Salazar noted after the game that he was working on his delivery, staying calm during the game, and working on getting his pitches to game-ready speed. Salazar mixed and matched his repertoire, throwing mostly fastballs and working in a cut fastball/slider (Brooks Baseball has claims to both pitches, but Salazar himself called it a cutter) and his plus changeup. Location was an issue early on, as he seemed to miss some spots, but facing Single-A hitters allowed for him to work his way through those issues without feeling the burden of those mistakes. Salazar’s velocity was also back as he unofficially sat between 93 and 94 miles per hour and touched 95.

Three rehab starts is one more than usual for a starting pitcher coming back, but a combination of the All Star Break and the previous two rehab games not going so well brought the club deciding to the third and hopefully final start for Salazar. While the way back has had some snags, if the end result is more games like Tuesday night, Danny, the front office, and Terry Francona will all gladly accept the journey back.

Below is the audio of Danny Salazar discussing the struggles of this season with WFNY:

  • Harv

    Welcome, Joe. Hopefully we commentariat wolves will be kind for your first few articles.

  • jpftribe

    Bring it on dude. This is the most insightful Salazar piece I’ve read this year.

    Bravo for actually asking him directly if he’s hurt, what his pitch limits are, what pitches he’s throwing and what he’s working on.
    https://media.giphy.com/media/OF0yOAufcWLfi/giphy.gif

  • mgbode

    Amazing right? You cannot get the simple answers if you don’t ask the simple questions. Love that Joe put himself out there and asked.

  • Chris
  • Chris

    “This is the best I’ve been feeling since I went to All-Star last year”

    If true… holy smokes.

  • Harv

    Totally agree. Took me a minute to understand this is first person reporting. With stuff not yet reported elsewhere.

    Quite the auspicious start, Joe.

  • Garry_Owen
  • Garry_Owen

    Wait. So your “source” on Danny Salazar’s health is . . . Danny Salazar??? That’s not the way anonymous sources work, Joe. The PD will not be calling.

  • Chris

    “First-to-know Joe” drops his first “Gerry Bomb”

  • jpftribe
  • mgbode

    Well, of course not. They would not send someone out to Mahoning Valley.

    Also, worth giving some love to The Scene brethren. Vince Grzegorek with some excellent reporting on Jason Kipnis today too:
    https://www.clevescene.com/cleveland/as-the-tribe-enters-the-all-star-break-a-conversation-with-jason-kipnis-on-the-teams-struggles-his-struggles-and-how-they-can-get-back-to/Content?oid=8587241

  • mgbode

    We now shall hold him to this standard on a daily basis.

  • mgbode

    Well, I don’t think Salazar has any reason to lie, so…

  • Harv

    I was gonna wait til next week to say that, but …

  • Harv

    I think it’s “Proposition Joe.” Maybe because I still can’t let that show go.

  • Pat Leonard

    Gerbs! What a great get… nice job man.

  • Harv

    Vince’s piece is really good. I’ve been wondering for more than a year now: why doesn’t cleve.com get substantive scoops? Not asking in a snarky way, because maybe players are now less likely to share with those under pressure to bombard Twitter with baseless nonsense about them. Maybe a newbie like Joe or a thoughful long form guy like Vince carry less baggage.

  • Harv

    so many being weirdly obsessed with it makes it hard to admit that it’s a close to perfect movie. But man, that’s a pretty perfect movie. Maybe 3 make me stop and watch every time while surfing and this here is one. Even when wifey walks by and sighs, “Again? Really?”

  • Garry_Owen

    Completely agree. As time passes, I find that this one keeps moving up the list of my all-time favorites. Indeed, it may be at the very top.

  • RGB

    It’s 11:00.
    I’m only waiting so long before I start footballing things up.

  • Harv

    Impossible for it to top G1 on my list, but this one is so sneaky. When it came out I thought “very good/not great.” No absolutely indelible scene(s) that make you think about it long after viewing. But it has aged as well as any movie I can remember, and not just because it’s easier for period pieces to do so. While nothing is historically great its consistent excellence across the board, in casting, acting, writing, directing/structure and uplifting message conspires to make it timeless. Never saw that coming.

  • Harv

    Steely self-restraint will take you far, Grasshopper.

  • RGB
  • jpftribe
  • BenRM
  • Harv
  • mgbode

    Meisel gets some incredible back-story scoops from the players.

  • mgbode

    It is coming…

    Breaking Salazar news sort of threw a wrench into things.

  • Garry_Owen

    Guys . . . a gif from Harv. Is this a first in WFNY history?

  • woofersus

    He means physically, I assume.

  • Harv

    note thus far I’ve only figured out how to find and link one, not make it appear. Baby steps

  • Garry_Owen
  • Harv

    That’s fair. This Browns season I’m going to try to tamp down my vicious MKC thoughts. But when I see them writing a column called “Ask Mary Kay” it brings to mind directing questions about orthopedic surgery to a gerbil. (oops)

  • Harv

    zactly

  • Chris

    I meant that if he is feeling that well and comes back anything like 2016 All Star Danny, this will be the rotation we’ve been waiting to see.

  • woofersus

    Yes, I agree. I just don’t know if return-to-form will necessarily follow return-to-health in short order.

  • mgbode

    makeagif.com does not appear to be one of the Disqus friendly places.

  • Paulajpalladino

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  • Sararyoung

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    On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
    !pa190d:
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  • Steve

    Because they have Hoynsie.

  • mgbode

    Interestingly enough, Hoynsie broke the Chisenhall to the DL news today along with quotes from Antonetti, while the rest of the beat staff was responding to queries that it wasn’t known yet.

  • Steve

    I think that goes with my point perfectly. Hoynsie is the guy the FO will drop procedural scoops to. Stuff that will get out sooner or later. And he seems to think thats enough. He won’t get a deep piece like someone else, he wont put in the effort to learn about the way the game has changed. He thinks his job is to repeat quotes spoonfed to him by the team, and he can just phone in anything else.

  • mgbode

    I noticed it because Hoynsie gets the normal beat stuff w/ the rest, but I haven’t seen him “break” anything in a long while. Especially a couple hours before guys like Bastian received the info (Hoynes already wrote up a column and everything).

    Not excusing the rest – he is what he is at this point.