The Cleveland Indians optioned starting RHP Zach McAllister to AAA Columbus on Tuesday. This comes as bit of a surprise after McAllister made an excellent start against the Chicago White Sox on Saturday. McAllister was called up to make Saturdays start, his first since being on the D.L. Mcallister pitched a solid seven innings, giving up just four hits and three runs. He looked like the guy that we saw at the beginning of the year before his implosion left him on the shelf for 15 days. The Indians sent him down on Tuesday, presumably to make room for an extra arm in the bullpen as they will play Detroit four times in 3 days starting Friday.
Trevor Bauer will make the start on Friday and Kluber will start one of the games in the day-night double header on Saturday. This is where the dilemma lies. The Indians need a starter for the second game on Saturday but then won’t have anyone on enough rest for Tuesday’s start. Justin Masterson is scheduled to come off the D.L. on Wednesday. The rules allow a 26th man to be called up for doubleheaders and the normal rules stating a player cannot be recalled within ten days of being sent down, do not apply. The most logical course of action would be to call on McAllister Saturday which would make Danny Salazar the likely starter on Tuesday in Minnesota.
When Salazar was sent down in May, he had been unable to locate his fastball down in the zone and was being clocked at below 95 MPH consistently. His change-up, which was extremely effective at the end of 2013 was being thrown much less frequently. His numbers in AAA are not staggering but over the last 6 weeks he has been better. He has been consistently throwing his heater between 96 and 99 MPH while using his other two pitches effectively. In his July 10th outing, Salazar only surrendered one run while maintaining 96 MPH plus velocity and locating his change-up. Reports from the Indians Pitching coach Mickey Callaway and Columbus Clippers Manger Chris Tremie have been all positive of late.
Salazar provided the Indians with a he lift in the second half, last season. He had high expectations placed on him going into this season which can be a burdensome for a 24 year old. He has the ability to be special, given he has the right mental makeup. His plus velocity is indispensable if he wants to figure things out with the Indians now. His off speed stuff can be devastating but he is still inconsistent with that part of his game. His fastball, when at its best is good enough alone to get him out of a lot of trouble. It appears as though Salazar is going to get an opportunity on Tuesday. If Salazar is up to the task, he could help elevate the Tribe rotation again this season.
By: Brad Ward
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