• Game 2: Wednesday, 7 p.m. ET game time on FOX (6 p.m. ET pregame show on FS1)
Salazar's showing in a three-inning simulated game on Sunday convinced Cleveland that he was ready to return.
"That's a huge weapon," Corey Kluber, the Indians' Game 1 starter, said. "The guy was an All-Star. He's got unbelievable stuff. That would definitely be an extra weapon to have on our pitching staff. Hopefully, with these sim games and everything, there won't be any rust and he'll be able to go out there right away and help us win."
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The Tribe's plan for Salazar, who assumed the postseason roster spot previously held by right-handed reliever Cody Anderson, remains undetermined. Salazar has not appeared in a game for Cleveland since Sept. 9, but has been cleared to log as many as 65-70 pitches (or about four innings), according to pitching coach Mickey Callaway.
Given the way Indians manager Terry Francona has handled his bullpen this October, getting four quality innings from Salazar may be enough. In fact, in games not started by the durable Kluber, the rotation has averaged just a touch over four innings per start this postseason. Cleveland has gone 5-0 in those games, thanks largely to the work of the relief trio of Andrew Miller, Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw.
The Indians plan on using Kluber, Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin as the starters for Games 1-3, respectively, but are waiting to decide who will take the mound for Game 4 on Saturday at Wrigley Field. Depending on how the first three games go, that assignment could be given to Salazar. Rookie lefty Ryan Merritt, who handcuffed Toronto in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, would also be a possibility. Kluber could also take the ball on short rest, if needed.
"After the third game we'd [like to] kind of see where we are," Indians manager Terry Francona said on Monday. "We have Merritt. We have Danny. Neither one would pitch a full game, but between those two, you know, especially with Danny, it gives you a guy that made the All-Star team that we could pitch really whenever we want. So, it's another really good arm that's kind of a wild card that we think could help us."
Here is Cleveland's complete roster: