Tribe wants consistency from Salazar in between starts

Tribe wants consistency from Salazar in between starts

OAKLAND -- When Danny Salazar took a major step forward last season, the Indians were quick to praise the pitcher's diligence behind the scenes. Now, Cleveland wants the right-hander to get back to the solid routine that helped him emerge as one of the game's top young arms.

On Wednesday morning, Indians manager Terry Francona said that -- like a lot of young players -- Salazar has been in need of reminding at times to stay consistent with his between-start program. The manager said that has especially been the case since Salazar was named to his first career All-Star Game.

"Sometimes you've just got to remind them," Francona said. "I don't think it's anything remotely like a lazy thing. I just think sometimes you've got to remind young guys that, 'Hey, sometimes on a day when you don't want to do it, that's the day you've really got to do it.' So, when you do show up to pitch, you have a much better chance of being consistent, because you don't have the ups and downs of how you feel that day.

"I think Danny is still learning that, like a lot of young pitchers and players. That's part of it. I think sometimes it's unfair to expect guys to just grow into it without growing into it. The All-Star Game can be a little bit of [an obstacle]. We were thrilled for him, but it's not the end of the season. I think we knew that, when he came back, we kind of wanted to kind of make sure that we sat on a few things.

"There's a reason you got there. Your routines, you don't stop those. The guys that are really good, they do it their whole career."

Francona's candid comments come in the wake of another subpar start from the 26-year-old Salazar, who allowed six runs in four innings in Cleveland's 9-1 loss to the A's on Tuesday night. Over his past four outings, which include two on either side of a stint on the 15-day disabled list due to elbow inflammation, Salazar has given up 19 runs on 20 hits with 11 strikeouts and 10 walks in 11 innings.

Since going 5-0 with a 1.91 ERA in June -- a showing that improved his overall record to 10-3 with a 2.22 ERA at the time -- Salazar has posted a 9.31 ERA across seven starts. Salazar is 11-5 with a 3.90 ERA through 22 starts this season.

Salazar, Francona and pitching coach Mickey Callaway have each indicated that the right-hander is healthy, and his fastball velocity (96.1 mph on average on Tuesday) would seem to back that up. Like Francona, Callaway cited Salazar's routine as an area in need of improvement after Tuesday's outing.

"He's got to go out there and get the job done," Callaway said. "I think it's going to depend on his routines and things like that. He's got to shore those things up and make sure he's doing everything he can to go out there and throw the ball over the plate and have success, in-between outings."

Francona has often pointed to fellow Tribe starter Carlos Carrasco as an example in that regard.

"Carlos always wanted to be told he was a starter," Francona said. "And then, when he went and earned it by doing all those things, it was much more meaningful. Now, when he runs into a problem, there's a way to fix it. It's not just like, 'Pull your socks up or hope.' He'll go have a good side day and a good work session, and the rest will take care of itself."

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.