"We all feel he is going to be a big part of what we do," Francona said at the time.
Cleveland needed a starter for the series in Minnesota due to right-hander Carlos Carrasco being hit on the side of the face in the first inning of his outing against the White Sox on Tuesday. Carrasco did not sustain a concussion or any facial fractures, walking away with only a bruised and swollen jaw. Under the circumstances, the Indians pushed the righty's next start back one day to Monday in Chicago.
In Minnesota, staff ace Corey Kluber will take the ball on Friday, and left-hander TJ House is scheduled to start for the Tribe on Sunday. Right-hander Trevor Bauer is in line to start on Tuesday in Chicago. Cleveland's other starting option at the big league level, right-hander Zach McAllister, is in the bullpen.
The 25-year-old Salazar enjoyed a strong season debut at Triple-A, spinning six shutout innings against Indianapolis on Friday. In that performance, the right-hander struck out seven, scattered four hits and issued no walks for Columbus.
Salazar has had mixed results in his previous stints with Cleveland.
The righty posted a 3.12 ERA with 65 strikeouts in 52 innings in his 10 starts in 2013, when the Indians handed him the ball for the American League Wild Card Game against Tampa Bay. Last year, Salazar went 1-4 with a 5.53 ERA in his first eight starts, went to Triple-A in the middle of the year and returned in late July. In his final 12 starts in '14, he went 5-4 with a 3.50 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 69 1/3 innings.
Overall, Salazar has gone 8-11 with a 3.89 ERA with 185 strikeouts and 50 walks in 30 career starts (162 innings) with Cleveland.
In 11 Cactus League innings this past spring, Salazar piled up 15 strikeouts in 11 innings, but he allowed 13 runs (10 earned) on 14 hits with five walks.
"That's such a big word -- being 'consistent' in our game," Francona said late in the spring. "Danny can get there, and he will. I think we all believe that, and the sooner, the better."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.