CLEVELAND (AP) — Danny Salazar is headed back to the minors but his return ticket to the major leagues might come soon.
The Cleveland Indians sent the rookie right-hander to Triple-A Columbus one day after his dazzling debut. The 23-year-old took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, struck out seven and got his first win Thursday in a spot start against Toronto.
Indians manager Terry Francona gave Salazar high marks in all categories, starting with the way he warmed up to how he kept his composure.
"Everybody saw his stuff," Francona said. "That was self-explanatory but the way he conducted himself was impressive. Nothing threw him. Nothing made him step back. He did everything. We're really pleased."
Salazar showed the Indians he was ready for the promotion, and it may not be long before he's back. Cleveland has had inconsistent starting pitching and the team is waiting for right-hander Zach McAllister to return after being sidelined with a sprained middle finger.
Reliever Chen-Chang Lee was called up from the Clippers to give the Indians short-term help in the bullpen.
"He (Salazar) can go back down and this creates an extra roster spot," Francona said. "We can make a determination on, first of all how Zach's doing, or we can do whatever we want. A lot of that is going to be decided on how Zach's doing."
McAllister is scheduled to start on a minor league rehab assignment at Double-A Akron on Saturday. He'll make at least one more rehab start before rejoining the Indians. McAllister is 4-5 with a 3.43 ERA in 11 starts.
Salazar began this season in Akron. He missed most of the 2011 season following Tommy John elbow surgery the previous year. Francona pointed out that Salazar threw only 87 2-3 innings in the minors in 2012. He's already pitched 82 innings this season and the Indians don't want to overextend him.
"You have to be cognizant of that," Francona said. "They've done a real good job of that in the minor leagues of keeping an eye on him. We would certainly be aware of that."
While it's unclear exactly when Salazar will return to the Indians, it's obvious he left a positive impression.
"If he had gotten hit around it wouldn't have detracted from how we view his future, but for everybody to see what's in there was certainly a bright spot for the entire organization," Francona said.