8/28/2014 8:24 P.M. ET
Indians to ramp up Salazar's spring regimen
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- The Indians put Danny Salazar on an extremely gradual throwing program during Spring Training and the young right-hander went on to endure a rough April. Pitching coach Mickey Callaway believes that Cleveland has discovered the flaw in the team's approach.
Throughout Salazar's Minor League career, the pitcher has gained steam throughout the season in terms of both velocity and endurance. What Callaway hopes to do in the coming winter and next spring is design a new program that puts Salazar on pace to be firing on all cylinders come Opening Day.
"I'm going to make some trips to the Dominican to go see him [over the offseason]," Callaway said. "We're going to hopefully get him out to Spring Training considerably early to really get him going. Really, it'll just be to get him ready for the season. We'll kind of push it up. We were thinking about a lot of things this past spring, as far as still kind of controlling [his innings].
"It kind of slipped past us that he's never really been ready to win his first game of the season. It's always been, 'OK, go work on developing things.' So, I think we need to make an adjustment to that."
In his first eight starts this season, Salazar went 1-4 with a 5.53 ERA in 40 2/3 innings, in which he registered 61 percent strikes, allowed an .886 opponents' OPS and turned in a 1.62 WHIP. Following a stint at Triple-A, Salazar returned to the Indians on June 22 and has made six starts at the Major League level.
During that more recent stretch, Salazar has gone 3-2 with a 3.27 ERA in 33 innings. Across that sample, the right-hander has thrown 66 percent strikes, limited hitters to a .628 OPS and posted a 1.15 WHIP. Salazar has also sat around 93-96 mph with his fastball, compared to around 92-95 mph earlier this season.
"He's always been a bit of a slow starter," Callaway said. "We've always seen his velocity, like in April, it averages around 92 [mph], and then in September, he averaged 96 last year. So he's always kind of conditioned himself -- kind of the Minor League way when you're coming up -- to ease yourself into the season.
"He's always kind of been in that mindset of building up. It's probably my fault that we probably didn't do a good job of getting him ready for Spring Training, where he had to come out and compete. He didn't know how to do it himself. We just kind of figured he'll be ready, but we didn't ever look at the history of it until after the season started."
Perez a quality fill-in for Tribe in Gomes' absence
CHICAGO -- The absence of catcher Yan Gomes over the past week has given the Indians the chance to take a close look at what they have in rookie Roberto Perez. If Gomes is activated from Major League Baseball's concussion list as expected on Friday, Perez will slide back to the backup role.
While Cleveland was already impressed with Perez's play in the reserve role, the team has been thrilled with how he has handled the increased responsibility of late.
"He's done tremendous," Indians manager Terry Francona said on Thursday. "It's kind of a cool story. His whole Minor League career he was always known for being such a good defensive catcher and really had a good reputation for running a game and being a good teammate. And, all of a sudden, things offensively started to fall together."
Heading into Thursday's game against the White Sox, the 25-year-old Perez was batting .280 with four extra-base hits, four RBIs and five runs scored in 17 games for the Indians. The Tribe's pitching staff had a 2.65 ERA with Perez behind the plate and he had also thrown out 50 percent (6-for-12) of would-be basestealers.
Perez was not happy to see Gomes land on MLB's seven-day consussion list on Saturday, but the young catcher has enjoyed filling in as the starter.
"You never want to see that happen to a guy," Perez said ."Something serious like a concussion, I don't wish that on anybody. But now that I've had the opportunity to play every day, I just want to call a good game and just keep learning."
Francona said Gomes will need to pass some more tests before being cleared for activation in time for Friday's road game against Kansas City.
"We'll reserve the right to [change our mind]," Francona said on Thursday. "Obviously, we'll get him on the flight tonight and we'll let him go through all his stuff today, and then we'll probably even wait and let him get through pregame [Friday] just because there's no reason not to. And then we'll do something."
Quote to note
"He's a threat when he's at the plate and, as a backup catcher, that's hard. ... He's done a really good job running the game, and he's thrown extremely well, which we knew he would. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, some guys might shine. I think he's done a really good job."
-- Francona, on Perez
• The Indians will likely make a handful of additions on Monday, when Major League rosters expand from 25 players to a maximum of 40 players. With Triple-A Columbus heading to the International League playoffs, that could delay the promotion of some players Cleveland has in mind for September.
"We'll try to balance that," Francona said on Thursday. "Obviously, you always put the Major League club first. We don't ever want to come up short on pitching, but we also think that there's some good that comes from those guys playing under those circumstances."
• Utility man Ryan Raburn, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a right wrist injury, went 0-for-3 with a walk with Double-A Akron on Wednesday. Raburn (eligible for activation on Tuesday) has gone 1-for-17 in four rehab games between Triple-A and Double-A. He and designated hitter Jason Giambi (DL with left knee issue) continued their respective rehabs with Akron on Thursday.
• With a 3-1 win over Great Lakes on Wednesday, low Class A Lake County improved to 35-28 in the second half, clinching a spot in the Midwest League playoffs. In the win, first-base prospect Nellie Rodriguez went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, giving him 83 RBIs for the Captains.