CLEVELAND -- Indians right-hander Danny Salazar hadn't pitched since Sept. 9 due to a right forearm strain, but he proved he was ready to contribute with his first professional relief appearance Wednesday.
Although he didn't factor into the decision in the Cubs' 5-1 win over the Indians in Game 2 of the World Series, he showed he will be a major weapon moving forward.
"I was nervous the first time they said 'Danny go warm up,'" Salazar said. "But after I threw like two pitches, it was back to normal, feeling the way I used to feel like when I threw in my 'pen before the game."
Earlier in the week, Indians manager Terry Francona said that Salazar could throw upwards of 65-70 pitches. However, with Salazar having only thrown in a handful of simulated games in Arizona during his rehab, it was important for him to get a short outing in during a real game.
"We pitched him to try to keep the game where it was and to shake off some rust," Francona said. "I think we were able to do that, because you could see that the ball came out really well, but he wasn't commanding great."
Salazar threw 19 pitches, but only eight were strikes. His fastball velocity (94.1 mph) was mostly on par with his season average (94.7), but faded throughout the inning. He only incorporated his changeup as a secondary pitch, eschewing his slider (7.9 percent of regular-season pitches) and curveball (5.1 percent).
Salazar ran into trouble after recording two quick outs by walking Ben Zobrist and Kyle Schwarber on eight pitches. But after a mound visit from pitching coach Mickey Callaway, Salazar calmed down and coaxed a flyout from Javier Baez.
"[My command] started good, and then I got a little bit too excited, getting back out there," Salazar said. "I tried not to let my velo go down. I was pulling some pitches, but then I felt great."
Although Salazar held a 3.87 ERA over 25 starts this season -- earning his first All-Star nomination -- Francona said he foresaw Salazar's future appearances this Series also coming out of the bullpen. But with one relief appearance under his belt, Salazar is ready for his next challenge.
"It's good to throw and get that confidence back," Salazar said. "I'll be ready for next time."
Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.