As expected the Indians have optioned Danny Salazar back to the minors after the 23-year-old prospect made his big-league debut yesterday.
The only reason it’s worth noting is that Salazar was really, really good. He took a no-hitter into the sixth inning against the Blue Jays, retiring 15 of the first 16 batters he faced, and finished with six innings of one-run ball and a nifty 7/1 K/BB ratio.
Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes that Salazar had the most strikeouts by an Indians pitcher making his MLB debut since Luis Tiant in 1964. But with the All-Star break coming up and the Indians wanting to get Salazar regular work a return to the minors makes sense even if he’s pitched his way into their plans for the second half.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros and outfielder Michael Brantley are closing in on an agreement for a two-year contract in the $32 million range.
Brantley, 31, played a mostly full season last year for the first time since 2015. He hit .309/.364/.468 with 17 home runs, 76 RBI, 89 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 631 plate appearances. He made the AL All-Star squad for the third time in his career.
Brantley’s health, though, is why he had to settle for a two-year deal as opposed to a longer contract for a player of his caliber. He will take over in left field. In the event Brantley succumbs to injury woes, the Astros have top prospect Kyle Tucker waiting in the wings.
Update: According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, who also reports that the deal is in place, the Astros plan to rotate Brantley between left field, first base, and DH. That opens up some more playing time for Tucker.