The Indians announced Friday that they’ve reinstated right-hander Jefry Rodriguez from the 60-day injured list. In order to open a spot on the 40-man roster, Cleveland has transferred fellow right-hander Danny Salazar from the 10-day IL to the 60-day IL.
The move puts an end to Salazar’s 2019 regular season after just one appearance, although that already looked to be the case after Salazar asked the club for some time away from the organization after exiting his latest rehab appearance early (link via MLB.com’s Mandy Bell). Salazar, who has been sidelined since Aug. 2 due to a groin strain, missed the 2018 season and much of the 2019 campaign following shoulder surgery. His future with the organization is clearly up in the air following the latest sequence of events.
Salazar, 29, always looked to have front-of-the-rotation potential based on an electric arsenal and his typically gaudy strikeout rates, but he’s only been healthy enough to make 30 starts once in the past six seasons. The 2016 All-Star posted a 3.82 ERA with 10.5 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9 in 587 1/3 innings from 2013-17 but has been rendered an afterthought in the wake of his recent shoulder woes. The Indians paid Salazar a $5MM salary in 2018 and tendered him a contract at $4.5MM for the 2019 season due to the upside he possesses, but the organization will ultimately receive just four innings of work in return for that $9.5MM investment. Salazar is arbitration-eligible again this offseason, but he’s a surefire non-tender candidate at this point.
Meanwhile, the 26-year-old Rodriguez will return to the Indians after some shoulder troubles of his own. Acquired in the offseason swap that sent catcher Yan Gomes to Washington, Rodriguez started eight games for Cleveland earlier this season and worked to a 4.74 ERA with 6.6 K/9, 3.9 BB/9, 1.03 HR/9 and a 49.3 percent ground-ball rate.
Rodriguez topped out at 3 2/3 innings in his minor league rehab stint, so he’s not fully stretched back out just yet. He could function as a long reliever or perhaps make a start with the understanding that his workload would be limited, should the need arise. Cleveland has club control over the righty through the 2024 season.