Salazar on track for next scheduled start

Indians right-hander dealing with shoulder fatigue

Salazar on track for next scheduled start

SEATTLE -- Danny Salazar had what Cleveland manager Terry Francona called a "real good day" physically on Tuesday and appears on track for his scheduled Sunday start against the Angels in Anaheim.

The right-hander experienced right-shoulder fatigue following his last start May 3, so the Indians are skipping his turn in the rotation, which was supposed to come Wednesday. Cody Anderson was called up from Triple-A Columbus to start against the Mariners on Tuesday and Carlos Carrasco was pushed to Wednesday.

Francona said Salazar, who is 6-3, has the lowest ERA of any starter in the American League at 2.24, and has 81 strikeouts in 68 1/3 innings, would throw a side session Thursday to be ready for Sunday.

"If you throw 105, 108 pitches … the day after you pitch, everybody feels something, you know what I mean?" Francona said. "We just thought his recovery wasn't as good as we would have liked."

Francona added that the break from the rotation will give the team a chance to reinforce with Santana that he needs to be consistent with his prep work.

"Let's face it," Francona said. "When you're 6 feet tall or 6-foot-1 and you're throwing 97 [mph], you need to take care of that arm and the shoulders around it because you're putting a lot of torque on that."

Napoli a smashing success

Francona said once it became well known that the Indians were thinking about signing slugger Mike Napoli in the offseason, he got a phone call that basically sealed the deal.

It was from Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who helped Francona win a World Series title in Boston in 2007 and who won another ring with Napoli as a Sox teammate for skipper John Farrell in 2013.

"He came about as highly recommended as someone can come," Francona said.

And Napoli has delivered. Even after going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in the series opener here at Safeco Field on Monday night, Napoli is leading the Indians in home runs with 14 and RBIs with 42. He's a fixture in the cleanup spot in the lineup and has been playing solid first base.

"You look back at all the quotes when we signed him," Francona said. "There's going to be periods where it's swing and miss. That's part of it. You can't swing that hard without some swing and miss. We know that. And when he goes through those periods, it's like blackjack. You know it's going to turn. Because if you run away from him, you don't get the rewards. And he's been so good.

"But in addition to the obvious numbers that you see, he's been such a leader. He's an amazing teammate. When you get new guys, for them to take over leadership that quickly, they've got to be pretty special. Nap's a pretty special guy."

Napoli said it's been a perfect fit in Cleveland from Day 1.

"I knew with this pitching staff, you have the chance to win every night," Napoli said. "On paper, it looked really good, and it all worked out. It slotted in perfectly throughout the whole process. It was an easy decision for me."

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.