Oft-injured Indians right-hander Danny Salazar took a major league mound for the first time since 2017 on Thursday, but it wasn’t a triumphant return. Salazar lasted just four innings, in which he allowed two earned runs on four hits and three walks (with two strikeouts), in a 7-1 loss to Houston. It turns out Salazar was attempting to pitch through a groin issue, Joe Noga of cleveland.com was among those to cover. Salazar, who had been out with shoulder troubles, threw mostly changeups during his 66-pitch comeback and never exceeded 88.3 mph on the radar gun. That’s an enormous drop for a hurler who often overpowered hitters with 95 mph average fastball velocity from 2013-17. Salazar expressed confidence after the game that he’ll be fine, but the Indians will re-evaluate him Friday. It’s a situation that bears watching with the wild card-leading Indians’ rotation now much shallower in the wake of this week’s Trevor Bauer trade.
More on a couple other franchises…
- The Dodgers’ Joc Pederson first base experiment is over for at least the time being, manager Dave Roberts told Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times and other reporters Thursday. The outfielder has picked up 20 appearances at first this year, and during that 149-inning span, Pederson has made six errors and posted minus-3 Defensive Runs Saved. Right fielder Cody Bellinger will now shift to first against right-handed starters, while Pederson will take left, A.J. Pollock center and Alex Verdugo right in those situations. Max Muncy could handle first on occasion versus lefties, according to Roberts (Tyler White manned the position versus Padres southpaw Joey Lucchesi on Thursday).
- More from Castillo, who writes that just-acquired Dodgers infielder Jedd Gyorko will begin a rehab assignment at the Double-A level Saturday. Gyorko, whom the Dodgers picked up in a trade with the Cardinals on deadline day, has been out since June 8 because of back and wrist issues. He’s eligible to come off the 60-day injured list next week, though he’ll first need to amass around 40 to 50 minor league at-bats, per Roberts.
- Infielder Asdrubal Cabrera enjoyed a successful stint with the Mets from 2016 until they traded him to the Phillies last summer. Cabrera, who signed with the Rangers over the winter, is about to become a free agent after they designated him for assignment Wednesday, but the Mets don’t appear to have interest in a reunion, Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets. Based on his subpar 2019 production, Cabrera wouldn’t be an upgrade over Mets No. 1 third baseman Todd Frazier. The rest of the club’s starting infield is spoken for with Pete Alonso at first, Robinson Cano at second and Amed Rosario at short, and reserve Adeiny Hechavarria is regarded as a much steadier defensive option than Cabrera.