"He's actually done really well," Francona said. "He's bouncing back and he's doing well. It's just being a week later, it's not the end of the world. It sets up the whole year, giving the guy a good base, rather than just for the sake of the schedule having the guy say he can throw the first Spring Training game. I never quite understood that."
The Indians' conservative approach is aimed at having the 24-year-old Salazar prepared to handle his first full season in the big leagues.
Last year, Salazar logged 145 innings between Triple-A and the Majors after turning in 87 2/3 innings in 2012. In '11, the right-hander threw just 14 2/3 innings after coming back from Tommy John surgery the previous year.
"We want him to pitch with the tank full," Francona said. "That's the best way I can put it. I think we have a responsibility when guys show up to assess where they are. ... We know where they are and we talk to them and there's different ways to get to the season for everybody."
Salazar had a 3.12 ERA with 65 strikeouts and 15 walks in 10 starts (52 innings) last season for the Indians and started in the American League Wild Card Game against the Rays. Salazar is a virtual lock to open the season as part of the Tribe's rotation.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.