Salazar looks 'really good' in bullpen session

Salazar looks 'really good' in bullpen session

DETROIT -- Danny Salazar walked out of the visitors' clubhouse at Comerica Park, and moved swiftly down the hall toward the training room. Before he disappeared around a corner, the Indians pitcher was asked if he played catch again on Monday afternoon.

"Yes," said Salazar, who then broke into a wide smile. "I threw a bullpen."

With those words, Salazar was gone. With that workout, the hard-throwing right-hander took another step toward returning for the Indians. Cleveland is trying to get Salazar prepared for a possible comeback as a reliever for the start of the postseason, and Monday's bullpen session marked his first time throwing off a mound since injuring his right forearm.

Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway noted that Salazar threw roughly 20 pitches at roughly a 75-percent intensity level. The righty fired only fastballs, and he reported no lingering issues from the forearm strain that he sustained in a start on Sept. 9 against the Twins. The next step is to see how Salazar feels when he reports to the ballpark on Tuesday.

Salazar played long toss up to around 120 feet before moving to the mound.

"He looked really good," Callaway said. "[He was] using his legs well, the ball's coming out good, got through it just fine. And we're going to go day by day, see how he feels tomorrow and then go from there."

The 26-year-old Salazar has gone 11-6 with a 3.87 ERA in 25 starts, in which he has piled up 161 strikeouts against 63 walks in 137 1/3 innings. The righty was named to his first American League All-Star team, but sat out of the Midsummer Classic in July due to an elbow issue. Salazar also missed time in June (shoulder) and August (elbow) before the latest injury flared.

Indians manager Terry Francona said the team is being careful not to rush Salazar back.

"He understands. His health is the first priority," Francona said. "He's not rushing into anything. This is not a speed-up program. This is just a back-to-throw. This is the program guys would do."

Callaway said, in a perfect scenario, Salazar would be able to pitch in a regular-season game before pitching in a playoff setting.

"That would be nice," Callaway said. "I don't think that's a goal right now, because tomorrow, coming in, feeling good is probably the main goal. But, it would be nice."

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.