CLEVELAND -- Shortly after finishing up a card game with Indians catcher Carlos Santana on Wednesday, right-hander Danny Salazar moved over to his new locker to take questions from reporters, all of whom wanted to learn a little more about the kid on the verge of his Major League debut.
A day earlier, Tribe manager Terry Francona announced that Salazar would be called up from Triple-A Columbus to start in Thursday's series finale against Toronto. In 10 games with the Clippers, Salazar went 3-2 with a 3.40 ERA. Across 42 1/3 innings, the 23-year-old tallied 13 walks and 49 strikeouts.
"I'm ready for this," said Salazar, the Tribe's No. 8 prospect according to MLB.com. "I've been practicing a lot. I've been working hard every day and waiting for this moment."
Salazar has had two Spring Training experiences, but he's never pitched in a Major League game that counted. He began the season with Double-A Akron, where he went 2-3 with a 2.67 ERA over seven starts.
"When I got called up to Triple-A, it was exciting, too" Salazar said. "I just thought to myself, 'OK, you're getting there. Step by step.'"
Francona said the organization brought Salazar to Cleveland a day before his start to help with the transition. This way, he can get a glimpse of Toronto's lineup and get all greetings out of the way early.
"He'll stick around for four or five innings and then get out of here like most guys do," the skipper said before Wednesday's game. "And if he has any brains at all, he probably won't sleep a wink. And he'll probably tell everybody tomorrow he did.
"This is just another step for him -- and a big one -- and hopefully he helps us get a win."
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.