Growing up, Salazar rooted for Red Sox

Growing up, Salazar rooted for Red Sox

BOSTON -- As a teenager growing up in Santo Domingo, Indians right-hander Danny Salazar followed one Major League team obsessively.

"In the Dominican, it was either the Yankees or the Red Sox," Salazar said. "The Red Sox were my team."

Salazar will make his second career start at Fenway Park on Sunday in the series finale. He's thrived against the Red Sox in two career starts, going 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA. The right-hander faced the club in his final start of 2015, allowing one run on four hits in 5 1/3 innings in Cleveland.

"I love coming here. It is so different from all of the others. Every ballpark now looks the same," Salazar said. "This one feels like a special place. Coming here after watching the team play is an amazing thing."

Salazar is especially excited to face fellow countryman David Ortiz. The two have squared off five times, with Ortiz going 1-for-5 with an RBI double.

"I just want to face him one last time before he retires. I don't care if he gets a home run or I strike him out. I just want to do it," Salazar said. "He's a guy I watched play when I was 12 years old. I wasn't even thinking about doing baseball for a living at that point. Now, being here and the same level he is, it is amazing."

The right-hander was slated to face Ortiz and the rest of the Red Sox's lineup on April 7 in Cleveland, but a rainout bumped back his start and he didn't face Boston.

It isn't just the Red Sox slugger or Fenway Park that has Salazar awestruck, it's also Red Sox great and Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez.

"Being on the mound, Pedro Martinez pitched there. That is the best part," Salazar said. "I got to meet Pedro before my bullpen [session], and then he watched my bullpen [session]. I got pretty nervous. That's the first time I've been nervous during a bullpen [session]."

Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com based in Boston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.