Danny Salazar was supposed to be one of the breakout stars of this season, but instead the 23-year-old Indians right-hander pitched himself back to Triple-A by going 1-4 with a 5.53 ERA in eight starts and now he’s struggling in the minors too.
Salazar has started three games at Triple-A since being demoted on May 16 and he’s 0-3 with a 7.11 ERA, allowing 29 baserunners in 12.2 innings. By comparison, at Triple-A last season Salazar posted a 2.73 ERA with 78 strikeouts in 59.1 innings before being called up to Cleveland for his big-league debut.
Zack Meisel of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes that Salazar has had problems with his mechanics since the demotion and in particular “had trouble keeping his lead arm at a consistent height.”
Salazar is a huge part of the Indians’ future and when they demoted him to Triple-A last month it was no doubt done with the idea of bringing him back to the majors pretty quickly, but now those plans are on hold.
On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.
Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”
Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”
Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.