Salazar Lands on Disabled List with Right Elbow Inflammation
Bob Toth | On 02, Aug 2016
After another rough outing on the mound, the Cleveland Indians have placed starting pitcher Danny Salazar on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation. Newest member of the Indians, outfielder Brandon Guyer, assumed his spot on the 25-man roster.
Salazar has been dealing with discomfort in his throwing arm for several weeks. It was enough of an issue that he skipped making an appearance in his first All-Star Game to allow his body more time to rest.
Salazar’s comments postgame Monday after throwing a career-low two innings in a loss to the Minnesota Twins were concerning.
“There’s something in my elbow,” he shared after Monday’s game. “I don’t know what it is. We don’t know. I think we’re going to find out tomorrow. It’s been there for a while, but it’s getting worse. I want to find out what’s going on so I know what’s in there.”
Indians manager Terry Francona and pitching coach Mickey Callaway did not seem as concerned that there was something physically wrong with Salazar’s arm, but noted his struggles over his last few starts.
“He obviously doesn’t look like himself,” shared Francona after Monday’s game. “Hopefully, nothing [is found] and then we can move forward, and I think Danny can relax a little bit and if there’s a need to look at it further, we can. I just think that makes sense, because the last couple of outings, he hasn’t been himself.”
“We’re not seeing the Danny we’ve seen in the past,” said Callaway. “The conviction, the willingness to go out there and attack with his best stuff, hasn’t been there for me.
“He’s had that problem in the past where he feels like maybe something is wrong, where he’s going to back off a little bit. So, we’re going to get it scanned for his peace of mind. If nothing’s there, then he knows, ‘Hey, I can go out there and let it go the way I should let it go.'”
The team sent him for an MRI on Tuesday morning, which revealed no structural damage in his throwing arm. He was diagnosed with inflammation in the elbow.
He is expected to miss two to three weeks of action while on the disabled list. The Indians are hopeful that his stay will be for only the minimum of 15 days. He will not throw for the next five to seven days. He had experienced discomfort in the days following each start, but by the time his turn to pitch came around, he was feeling better. As the games went deeper and deeper, the pain would return, which may have led to him being a bit hesitant on the mound or may have led to some of the control issues that he has dealt with.
Over the course of his last four starts, Salazar has failed to reach the sixth inning three different times. In each of those three games, he has allowed between four and six runs.
In his first ten starts of the season, including all four April starts and his six in May, he was 5-3 with a 2.39 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP, three homers allowed, and a .190 batting average against, all while averaging 10.74 strikeouts per nine innings.
Over his next ten, including two stretches of extended rest, he has gone 6-1, but has a 4.42 ERA, a 1.37 WHIP, ten homers allowed, and a .253 batting average against while averaging 9.63 strikeouts per nine innings. He has spent more time attacking the zone as the year has gone on, reducing his walk rate, but he has allowed more hits in the process. In more recent starts, he has also seen a slight decline in the velocity on his fastball.
Columbus’ Mike Clevinger will be the next man up in the rotation and will take the mound on Thursday, pushing the rest of the rotation back a day with Josh Tomlin throwing on Friday and Corey Kluber going on Saturday in the first two games of the three-game series with the Yankees.
The 25-year-old rookie right-hander Clevinger is 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA and 1.59 WHIP in four outings (three starts) for Cleveland this season. At Triple-A Columbus, he is 11-1 with a 3.00 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 17 starts. He has struck out 97 batters in 93 innings of work this season and is next scheduled to start for the Clippers on Wednesday, August 3.
The loss of Salazar will hurt the Tribe in the immediate, but the news today was far better than it could have been as the elbow was still structurally sound. It looks like he will be able to return well in advance of the stretch run and the team’s big playoff push in September and October.
Photo: AP Photo/Ron Schwane