ARLINGTON -- There might be more than flawed mechanics to blame for Danny Salazar's struggles on the mound this season for the Indians.
Salazar, who was recently placed on the Minor League disabled list with a right triceps injury, dealt with a similar health issue during Spring Training. During the preseason, the discomfort was extremely mild, but it did play at least a minor role in Cleveland being cautious with the righty's spring workload.
"We just had to maintain it and treat it," Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway said. "But it wasn't overly concerning."
The 24-year-old Salazar posted a 3.12 ERA with 65 strikeouts in 52 innings in 10 outings for Cleveland last year, when he was also got the nod to start the American League Wild Card Game. After a gradual progression through Spring Training this year, Salazar was slotted into the Opening Day rotation, but did not have the same kind of success.
In eight starts prior to being optioned to Triple-A Columbus, Salazar went 1-4 with a 5.53 ERA in 40 2/3 innings, in which he had 47 strikeouts, 17 walks, eight home runs allowed and a .301 opponents' batting average. In three starts at Triple-A, Salazar went 0-3 with a 7.11 ERA in 12 2/3 innings before landing on the disabled list.
"We started Danny slow this spring just out of precaution," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "I think when he went home [to the Dominican Republic over the offseason], we should've probably stayed on him a little more. So, when he came to Spring Training, we decided, 'OK, we'll start him a little slow.' That was really all it was."