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Did The Tribe Win Last Night? | September 25, 2020

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Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 31

Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 31

| On 24, Feb 2020

Baseball takes little time off in between seasons, so neither can we. Follow along at Did the Tribe Win Last Night as we count down to March 26, when the Cleveland Indians host the Detroit Tigers for game one of the 2020 season. – BT

Countdown to Opening Day – 31 days

The Danny Salazar experiment in Cleveland finally came to a close last November. After standing by his side after a long investment in his development and a sizable check cut by Mr. Dolan for his services over the last couple of seasons, Salazar provided the Indians with just four innings on the big league mound over the last two years and was outrighted to the minors following the 2019 campaign.

Salazar declined the assignment, becoming a free agent.

The last to wear 31 for the Indians saw what looked to be a promising start to his big league career come to a curious and sudden crashing halt as the 2016 All-Star struggled with on-the-field performance and questions about his personal work habits before a slew of nagging “injuries” kept him from making contributions. Forearm, elbow, and shoulder pains led to a lot of time on the medical and training tables since being named as one of the best in the AL in the first half of 2016, and even after surgery to address some of the issues, he still complained of a funny feeling that prevented him from getting back to his former potential. It did not stop the Indians from continuing their financial investment in a guy vacationing far too long in Arizona when half of the season’s slate was scheduled for Ohio’s north shore.

Salazar – Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire (via Getty Images)

Salazar opened 2019 on the 60-day injured list, still working through rehab after having an arthroscopic debridement and a bursectomy performed on his right shoulder to clean up the area of the rotator cuff. He got back into action just before the All-Star break, doing some rehab assignment work in Arizona, Akron, and Columbus, before being activated at the end of July in advance of his first big league appearance since the 2017 postseason.

He lasted just four innings in a tough matchup against the Houston Astros on August 1 and his Indians career was suddenly over. He faced 17 batters, giving up a single, a double, two solo home runs, and three walks while missing significant velocity on his fastball. After getting the quick hook, it was announced that Salazar was heading back to the injured list with a right groin injury. On September 6, he was moved to the 60-day injured list after three more rehab appearances with Akron yielded little improvement and Salazar left the organization and returned to Tampa to ponder his baseball future with a lot of extra cash in his pocket for very little results on the field.

The future remains undetermined for Salazar, as the once-promising right-hander remains unsigned at the time of this story. Some whispers in the blogosphere over the last weeks have had some pondering if he would be an option in Baltimore as a no-risk reclamation project, or even in New York with the Yankees as their rotation has taken some serious injury hits over the last few weeks. But with a persistent and somewhat unexplained injury history and some drastic declines in his numbers even when able to take the mound in rehab work, the 30-year-old may be sitting available for a while before getting another chance to get back into the professional game.

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Salazar is one of 51 different players in Tribe history to wear the number 31 and, like many of them, he has done so on the pitching slab in Cleveland. His one outing in 2019 extended his run in the number an additional season, making him the longest tenured #31 during the Jacobs Field/Progressive Field era.

Previously, Cliff Lee spent five years in the number from 2005 to 2009, winning a Cy Young award with the club in 2008 after years of up and down results on the mound for the Indians. Three other left-handers (Chuck Finley, Brian Anderson, and David Huff) have also worn the number to the mound for the Indians at their downtown gem, as have right-handers Jeff D’Amico and Jamey Wright.

Winfield – MLB.com

Only two position players have taken up the number at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario for the Tribe.

Dave Winfield was the first Indians player period to wear the number there, doing so during his final big league campaign in 1995. In his 22nd MLB season and at the age of 43, the 12-time All-Star was a shell of his former self, hitting .191 in 46 games with five doubles, two homers, and four RBI while serving as a part-time designated hitter prior to gaining entrance to Cooperstown on his first ballot.

Winfield started his career in 1973, when he was selected with the fourth overall pick in that draft out of the University of Minnesota. He debuted later that season for the San Diego Padres, beginning his long and successful career. He spent eight seasons with the Friars, making the National League All-Star team in each of his last four seasons with the club and winning a Gold Glove Award in his last two years there for his work in right field. He would later move on to New York with the Yankees, spending parts of nine seasons there while making eight straight American League All-Star teams, winning five Gold Gloves, and earning five Silver Slugger awards. He would also play for the California Angels (1990-91), Toronto Blue Jays (1992), and Minnesota Twins (1993-94) before joining the Tribe, winning a World Series with the Jays in 1992 at the age of 41.

Mark Little, who spent four years with five clubs at the MLB level, played his final eleven big league games with the Indians in 2004, hitting .200 with a pair of RBI as the other position-playing 31 in recent Tribe history.

Other notable 31s in Indians history (51 in total): “Suitcase Bob” Seeds (the first to do so from 1931 to 1932), Eddie Robinson (1942), Satchel Paige (1948), Allie Clark (1948-51), Wally Westlake (1952-55), Gene Woodling (1955-56), Jim Busby (1956-57), Jim Perry (1959-75), Paul Dade (1977), Steve Olin (1990-92).

Photo: David Maxwell/Getty Images

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Miss out on our other Countdown pieces? Check out more Indians history below!

Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 99 (Daniel Robertson)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 90 (Adam Cimber)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 88 (Phil Maton)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 77 (Jack Armstrong)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 76 (Tom Magrann)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 75 (Mike Walker)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 73 (Ricardo Rincon)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 72 (Jason Giambi)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 71 (Johnny Hodapp)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 70 (James Karinchak, George Kontos)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 69 (Luis Medina)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 68 (Jefry Rodriguez, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 67 (Aaron Civale, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 66 (Yasiel Puig, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 65 (Zach Plesac, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 64 (Tom Kramer, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 63 (Josh Smith, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 62 (Nick Wittgren, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 61 (Dan Otero, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 60 (Jhonny Peralta, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 59 (Carlos Carrasco)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 58 (Neil Ramirez, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 57 (Shane Bieber)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 56 (Cody Anderson)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 55 (Roberto Perez)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 54 (Hunter Wood)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 53 (Logan Allen)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 52 (Mike Clevinger)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 51 (numerous)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 50 (James Hoyt, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 49 (Tyler Olson, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 48 (Emmanuel Clase, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 47 (Trevor Bauer)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 46 (Jon Edwards, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 45 (Adam Plutko)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 44 (Nick Goody, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 43 (Josh Tomlin, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 42 (Mike Jackson, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 41 (Carlos Santana, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 40 (Bobby Bradley, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 39 (Oliver Perez, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 38 (Eric Haase, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 37 (Cody Allen, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 36 (Tyler Clippard, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 35 (Oscar Mercado, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 34 (A.J. Cole, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 33 (Brad Hand, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 32 (Franmil Reyes, others)

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