It was announced on Thursday that the Indians were calling up right-hander Danny Salazar for a spot start on Saturday against the Twins, but the plan now calls for him to remain in the rotation while Zach McAllister will move to the bullpen.
Salazar was expected to land a rotation spot out of spring training after Gavin Floyd went down with another elbow injury, but he struggled during Cactus League action and was optioned to Triple-A Columbus. However, after striking out seven and walking none over six scoreless innings in his lone start in the minors, the Indians are ready to give him another shot.
Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway told Jordan Bastian of MLB.com that they received positive reports about Salazar’s slider from his Triple-A start, which he feels could be the key to a breakout:
“If he can do that,” Callaway said, “throw the ball over the plate with some command, and throw that secondary pitch for a strike to set up that changeup, he’s going to be good to go.”
Salazar was great down the stretch as a rookie in 2013, but he had mixed results last year while posting a 4.25 ERA over 20 starts. Still, he has averaged 10.3 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in the majors and has obvious frontline starter potential. Can’t blame the Indians for going with upside.
McAllister was knocked around for five runs over four innings in his lone start last week. He was throwing in the high-90s with his fastball out of the bullpen last night (thanks, Brooks Baseball), so this could be a good change for him.
The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.
Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.
As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.
Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.
The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”