The Indians have announced that they’ve activated Danny Salazar, who will start tonight against the Blue Jays. To clear space on their active roster, they’ve optioned lefty Ryan Merritt to Triple-A Columbus.
Salazar had been out since early June with a sore shoulder. It’s not yet completely clear whose rotation spot he’ll take, although Mike Clevinger, Josh Tomlin and Carlos Carrasco are all penciled in for upcoming starts, and Corey Kluber obviously won’t lose his spot. That could leave Trevor Bauer, who has a disappointing 5.58 ERA this year (albeit with 10.2 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9) as the odd man out for now.
In any case, the return of a healthy Salazar could be a boon to an Indians club that has reportedly looked for starting pitching on the trade market. (They’ve repeatedly been connected to Sonny Gray, although they’re one of a long list of possible A’s trade partners should the Athletics move Gray.) The hard-throwing Salazar was a key to the Indians’ rotations in both 2015 and 2016, with a 3.63 ERA, 9.9 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 322 1/3 innings in that two-year span. He has a 5.40 ERA this season, but with strong peripherals, including a 12.6 K/9, over 55 frames.