CLEVELAND — Prized prospect Trevor Bauer was considered, but the Indians will go with Triple-A Columbus right-hander Danny Salazar as their starting pitcher Thursday against the Blue Jays.
“He’s always a consideration,” manager Terry Francona said of Bauer, who is 1-2 with a 5.29 ERA in four big league starts and 4-2 with a 4.06 ERA in 14 starts for the Clippers. “I think at this point we thought it would be in his best interest to stay where he is pitching. He’s trying to fight through the mechanical things and everything and his last outing with us was a pretty rocky one.
“You balance development, winning at the big league level … all those things. And we decided to let him stay where he is.”
In Bauer’s last outing for Cleveland at Chicago on June 28, he surprised everyone when he began the game pitching out of the stretch. He wound up allowing five runs on six hits (two home runs), a walk and a hit batter in just ⅔ of an inning.
Salazar, 23, was signed as an undrafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2006. In his first season on the Triple-A level this year, he is 3-2 with a 3.40 ERA in 10 starts and has struck out 49 batters in 42⅓ innings.
It should be just a spot start for Salazar, as Zach McAllister (sprained right middle finger) is expected to rejoin the rotation shortly after the All-Star break. It will be Salazar’s big league debut.
“When the coordinators came through a couple weeks ago, that was one of the topics — was he able to handle one of these spot starts?” Francona said. “And it was a unanimous, ‘Yes.’ So, we’re kind of excited.
“I haven’t followed (Columbus) terribly closely, but to listen to what they say about him, he’s getting a lot of strikeouts, he’s got good velocity. He’s got all the tools. His future is really bright. It will be a fun day to watch him pitch.”
Salazar was named Cleveland’s minor league player of the week (July 1-7) after going 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA in two starts.
The offensive struggles of Nick Swisher and Mark Reynolds have gotten the most attention lately, but two-time All-Star Asdrubal Cabrera also has been scuffling.
Cabrera (.249, 6 HR, 29 RBIs through Monday) entered Tuesday in the midst of an 0-for-19 skid. Since his activation from the disabled list, he was hitting .227 (10-for-44) with four RBIs over 12 games through Monday.
“He’s pretty good about regrouping,” Francona said. “Guys like Cabby are going to go through ups and downs as hitters. You just ride it out because they’re good players.”
Indians closer Chris Perez and his wife, Melanie, appeared at Rocky River Municipal Court for a pre-trial conference Tuesday. Both are facing misdemeanor drug charges.
Lawyers for both were granted continuances, with the Perez’s due back in court Sept. 3.
After watching left-hander Scott Kazmir pitch well this spring, Francona’s fear was the former Cy Young candidate might not be able to maintain his stuff during his comeback bid.
Kazmir has eased the fears thus far, going 4-4 with a 4.74 ERA in 15 starts and posting a 2.19 ERA over his last four outings.
“When we saw him this spring, he was good, and it looks like he’s gotten stronger,” Francona said. “He’s the definition of when you can pitch with your fastball and locate it, you can have success. He’s been pretty good. What’s exciting is he seems to not only be holding it, but getting better. He’s not being held together with band-aids for each start.”
Drew Stubbs’ double in the eighth inning Tuesday was the 500th hit of his career.
• Right-hander Carlos Carrasco cleared optional waivers and has reported to Columbus.
Contact Chris Assenheimer at (440) 329-7136 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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