The timetable for Salazar's return to game action is three to four weeks, meaning his regular season is over. The Indians entered Monday with a seven-game edge over the Tigers in the American League Central. The AL Division Series begins on Oct. 6.
"I think we already knew that," manager Terry Francona said of Salazar missing the rest of the regular season. "So I think when it's all said and done, getting the news that we did is pretty good. It's musculature as opposed to something with the ligament and the repair that was already in there."
Salazar, who has dealt with various arm injuries this season, exited his start against the Twins on Friday night after four innings due to tightness in his right forearm. He previously missed one start in early June due to shoulder fatigue and also spent time on the disabled list with elbow inflammation in August.
Francona isn't sure whether the current injury is related to the elbow issues last month.
"I don't think anyone could say for sure," he said.
Salazar is 11-6 with a 3.87 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 25 starts this season, but he has not been the same pitcher since July. Dating to July 9, which was the outing prior to being held out of the All-Star Game due to elbow soreness, he has gone 1-3 with a 7.75 ERA and .916 opponents' OPS in 38 1/3 innings.
Francona couldn't say whether Salazar could be used as a starter in the postseason if all goes well.
"There's no reason to speculate," he said. "The one thing we want to do is get him healthy, make sure he knows he's healthy -- because that's important -- and then if it fits somewhere, good. But the biggest thing is to get him healthy."
John Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.