Indians being protective of young RHP Salazar

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 6, 2014 at 3:10 pm •  Published: March 6, 2014

GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — The Cleveland Indians are extremely excited about having Danny Salazar for a full season, and that is why they are taking their time with the young pitcher this spring.

"His stuff is electric. The more he pitches for us, the better we are," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We all know that. Saying that, there's a way to get there and by just turning him loose in February, I don't think we felt like that was the best way to get there."

Last season, the 24-year-old right-hander pitched a career-high 145 innings between Double-A, Triple-A and Cleveland, making his big league debut in July. In 10 starts with Cleveland he went 2-3 with a 3.12 ERA and was chosen to the start the AL wild-card game against Tampa Bay, where he gave up three runs in four innings of a 4-0 loss.

Salazar, who had elbow-reconstruction surgery in 2010, has yet to pitch in a Cactus League game this spring; he'll throw one inning in an intrasquad game Friday. Still, he doesn't mind the schedule.

"They told me that early because they want to be patient with me now," Salazar said. "So in the season I can throw maybe 180 innings or maybe 200 innings."

Francona knows how important Salazar is to Cleveland's success this season — and beyond — so he's not concerned with taking it slow now.

That's not to say it's always been easy maintaining that slow transition.

"I told him every time (last season), I wish I didn't have to take you out,'" Francona said.

Just 52 innings into his big league career, there is still plenty left for Salazar to take in, both on and off the field.

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