After chatting it over, the Tribe decided to send Salazar down to Triple-A Columbus, promoting relief pitcher Kyle Crockett from double-A Akron. It was a bittersweet move after Salazar shot through the system a year ago, making it all the way to starting the teams playoff game in October against the Tampa Bay Rays.
For manager Terry Francona, it was not a move that he enjoyed making. “Right now, we tried to make the decision based on Danny,” Francona said. “… when he’s making mistakes, he’s playing for it. He’s kind of gotten away from locating his fastball down.” Salazar’s also had issues with his changeup as it’s been inconsistent, and he’s letting his fastball get away from him, which is a major issue for a pitcher that leans on his fastball so much.
This season, Salazar is just 1-4 as the team’s No. 1 starter, with a 5.53 ERA in eight starts. On the year, Salazar has struck out 47, walked 17 and allowed eight homers in just 40.2 innings. He’s also had struggles with keeping his pitch count down, and just like Thursday against the Jays, it’s gotten him into trouble. He hasn’t been able to get deep into games, and a lot of that has to do with his pitch count.
It was the right move at the right time to get him down to the Triple-A level and let him work on his pitches. Watching him get overmatched at the major league level this season has been tough, but it happens to young pitchers, and hopefully the young thrower will get back to the basics and work on his pitches enough to get back to the majors sooner rather than later.
Francona said there’s no doubt that Salazar will be back in 2014, and will eventually will be a good major league pitcher. Right now though, it makes more sense for him to get his pitches and his confidence back in the minors than to be struggling every five days. For now, it’s the exact move the Indians need and one that should pay off for them and for Salazar.