Salazar expected to see Cactus action on Monday

Salazar expected to see Cactus action on Monday

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians provided a controlled environment for Danny Salazar's first game action of Spring Training. Rather than throw him into a Cactus League contest, Cleveland wanted to give the right-hander a comfortable first step in his build-up to the regular season.

On Friday morning, Salazar took the mound on Field 6 at the Tribe's spring complex and faced six Minor League batters in an intrasquad "B" game. With that completed, Salazar is scheduled to make his official spring debut during a home game against the Angels on Monday.

"It was very encouraging," Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway said of Salazar's showing on Friday. "He was really good. That's what we wanted. We wanted him to ease into what he's got going on right now. He should be ready for two innings in a real game now."

Salazar is slated to log two frames as the starter for Monday's game against Los Angeles at Goodyear Ballpark.

During Friday's game, Salazar allowed one unearned run because of a fielding error by the shortstop on the first pitch of his outing. The right-hander finished with three strikeouts (two on swings) and he induced one groundout. Salazar's lone hiccup came when 16-year-old Willy Castro -- an international signee out of the Dominican Republic -- singled up the middle on his final pitch.

Overall, Salazar logged 21 pitches, topped out at 96 mph on the radar gun and stayed around 93 mph for the most part, according to Callaway.

"His slider and changeup are there," Callaway said. "Obviously, fastball command is the main concern this early in spring. Once he gets out there in a little more extended innings, we'll get to see exactly where he is with that. But, yeah, it was very encouraging. That's where we want him to be right now."

Salazar is slighly behind the rest of Cleveland's pitchers in terms of innings this spring, but the Indians have indicated that the righty will be ready to join the Opening Day rotation. On Thursday, manager Terry Francona hinted that Salazar might be slotted into the fifth slot, which could delay his regular-season debut until April 8.

"We'll see where we're at," Francona said on Thursday. "I guess I don't get too caught up in it, because we care so much about getting him ready for his career that a week in April is not the end of the world."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for 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.