For the second straight season, shoulder and elbow issues marred Danny Salazar's fleeting but tantalizing performance, and he took two trips to the disabled list. The right-hander still had a walk rate near 4.0 BB/9 again, but he made up for it, somewhat, with his double-digit strikeout rate. He remains one of the hardest-working hurlers -- not in a good way, as he averaged 17.6 pitches per inning, well above what's desired. His durability concerns often override flashes of brilliance. During a stretch of five starts in the second half, he posted a 46:9 K:BB and 1.39 ERA across 32.1 innings. Of course, after that, he landed on the DL. Despite his late-season bullpen stint, Cleveland aims to put him back in the rotation for 2018, but renewed shoulder trouble in January put him behind the Indians' other starters entering spring training. The payoff potential is significant (as he showed in 2015) if he can stay healthy, but he's already off to a poor start in that regard.
Salazar is behind the rest of the Indians' pitchers due to an offseason onset of his previous right shoulder inflammation, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports. The right-hander is feeling fine now and is back to throwing, but it's certainly concerning given his injury issues the past two seasons. The relapse of inflammation reportedly came back in January, so it seems like something the team identified early on and treated well ahead of spring training. This is something worth monitoring during Cactus League play, however, as Cleveland could opt to play things safe given how poorly Salazar's shoulder held up the past two seasons.