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Salazar may be candidate for post-break start

Salazar may be candidate for post-break start

Salazar may be candidate for post-break start

CLEVELAND -- The Indians are planning adjustments to their starting rotation during the four-day All-Star break next week. At this point, all that seems certain is that Cleveland would prefer to have All-Star Justin Masterson start the first game of the second half in Minnesota.

It's unclear how quickly injured starter Zach McAllister can rejoin the rotation. McAllister, who hasn't pitched since June 2 because of a right middle finger sprain, is scheduled to make his first rehab outing on Saturday at Double-A Akron. If the injury keeps him from returning to the Indians relatively soon after the break, Danny Salazar would be a logical candidate to fill McAllister's regular spot.

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"In the future, I know they're going to call for me," Salazar said after his Major League debut on Thursday, when he allowed two hits and struck out seven in a win over Toronto.

The Tribe optioned Salazar back to Triple-A Columbus on Friday, and manager Terry Francona said Salazar's next big league start is at least somewhat tied to McAllister's recovery.

"He could pitch again," Francona said. "A lot of that's going to be decided on how Zach's doing."

Salazar began his outing against the Blue Jays with five no-hit innings. In his sixth and final frame, he allowed a single and a double, which led to his only run allowed on the afternoon. Salazar demonstrated the ability to throw 99 mph while walking just one.

Salazar is the first Indians pitcher to record seven strikeouts in his Major League debut since Luis Tiant punched out 11 batters on July 19, 1964. With his performance, Salazar edged Toronto knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who won the 2012 National League Cy Young Award. Salazar is just the fourth pitcher -- and first in the American League -- to start and win in his Major League debut opposite a reigning Cy Young Award winner since the honor was introduced in 1956.

"Nothing threw him. Nothing made him step back," Francona said. "We saw one start, and he was very good. There will be days down the road where he doesn't have a breaking ball, he's not locating his fastball, and you'll want to see how he handles that. A pretty good barometer is not the best of somebody or the worst of somebody, but what's in the middle. You can only find that out over time."

Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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