"You only get one first game, and that's not going to dictate his career by any means," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said on Wednesday. "But it's fun to watch guys, how they act. [We're] certainly interested in how they throw. When he exits that game, I hope we have a big lead."
A right-hander from the Dominican Republic, Salazar has made 17 starts this season -- seven for Double-A Akron and 10 for Triple-A Columbus. In 76 innings, he's 5-5 with a 3.08 ERA. The righty has given up four homers while issuing 23 walks and striking out 100, tops among the organization's Minor League pitchers.
Salazar, Cleveland's eighth-best prospect according to MLB.com, underwent Tommy John surgery in August 2010 and made just eight starts in 2011. This season, Salazar is averaging 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings, and he enters Thursday's outing having not allowed an earned run over his last 16 frames.
"Hopefully, it goes great." Francona said. "But like I said, whether he throws five or six no-hit innings, or he gets hit around a little bit, that doesn't dictate how his career's going to be."
To create space for Salazar, the Tribe sent down Guilmet, who made his Major League debut against Toronto on Wednesday. Guilmet relieved starter Justin Masterson in the seventh inning after the Blue Jays grabbed a 2-1 lead.
With two outs and men on second and third, Guilmet struck out Munenori Kawasaki to end the threat, and he began the eighth by inducing a groundout from Jose Reyes. At that point, Francona replaced Guilmet with Vinnie Pestano.
"I just wanted to come in there and try not to put that guy on and go after him," Guilmet said after the game. "It was absolutely incredible. There's no words than can explain the feeling. It was fun to get out there."
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.