CLEVELAND -- One of the biggest questions heading into the 2016 World Series has been answered: Indians right-hander Danny Salazar will indeed be on the World Series roster. Pitching coach Mickey Callaway and Salazar himself confirmed it.
"I don't know if I'm a starter or reliever but I'm ready," said Salazar, who could be an x-factor in the World Series. Callaway believes he righty can give the team four innings and 70 pitches, if necessary.
Salazar has been out since September with a forearm issue, and over the last few weeks he's been getting back into game shape with bullpen sessions and simulated games. Salazar said he's still gaining feel for his curveball but isn't concerned because he's a fastball/changeup guy.
The Indians will start Corey Kluber in Game 1 on Tuesday night then Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin in Games 2 and 3 in some order. That order depends on the health of Bauer's finger, which he cut repairing his drone last weekend.
Salazar could be an option to start Game 4 -- the alternative would be ALCS Game 5 hero Ryan Merritt -- though the Indians could again bring Kluber back on short rest. They did that in the ALCS. Starting on short rest in Game 4 would allow Kluber to start Game 7 on short rest too, if necessary.
Games 1-3 of the World Series will determine Cleveland's pitcher in Game 4. Manager Terry Francona has been ultra-aggressive with his bullpen, so if he needs Salazar in relief, I'm sure he'll use him rather than save him for a start later in the series.