Salazar may be candidate for post-break start
Right-hander is an option for Tribe if McAllister isn't ready to return
CLEVELAND -- The Indians are planning adjustments to their starting rotation during the four-day All-Star break next week. At this point, all that seems certain is that Cleveland would prefer to have All-Star Justin Masterson start the first game of the second half in Minnesota.
It's unclear how quickly injured starter Zach McAllister can rejoin the rotation. McAllister, who hasn't pitched since June 2 because of a right middle finger sprain, is scheduled to make his first rehab outing on Saturday at Double-A Akron. If the injury keeps him from returning to the Indians relatively soon after the break, Danny Salazar would be a logical candidate to fill McAllister's regular spot.
"In the future, I know they're going to call for me," Salazar said after his Major League debut on Thursday, when he allowed two hits and struck out seven in a win over Toronto.
The Tribe optioned Salazar back to Triple-A Columbus on Friday, and manager Terry Francona said Salazar's next big league start is at least somewhat tied to McAllister's recovery.
"He could pitch again," Francona said. "A lot of that's going to be decided on how Zach's doing."
Salazar began his outing against the Blue Jays with five no-hit innings. In his sixth and final frame, he allowed a single and a double, which led to his only run allowed on the afternoon. Salazar demonstrated the ability to throw 99 mph while walking just one.
Salazar is the first Indians pitcher to record seven strikeouts in his Major League debut since Luis Tiant punched out 11 batters on July 19, 1964. With his performance, Salazar edged Toronto knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who won the 2012 National League Cy Young Award. Salazar is just the fourth pitcher -- and first in the American League -- to start and win in his Major League debut opposite a reigning Cy Young Award winner since the honor was introduced in 1956.
"Nothing threw him. Nothing made him step back," Francona said. "We saw one start, and he was very good. There will be days down the road where he doesn't have a breaking ball, he's not locating his fastball, and you'll want to see how he handles that. A pretty good barometer is not the best of somebody or the worst of somebody, but what's in the middle. You can only find that out over time."
Tribe signs Draft pick Plutko on deadline day
CLEVELAND -- On the last day Cleveland could sign its selections from the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, the club agreed to terms with a national champion.
Adam Plutko, a right-hander out of UCLA, was selected by the Indians in the 11th round last month. In this year's College World Series -- in which the Bruins earned their first national championship in baseball -- Plutko went 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA.
"[He has a] really good feel to pitch, very successful in high school, a guy we followed through college, too," said Brad Grant, the Indians' director of amateur scouting following Day 3 of the Draft. "[He] has got a lot of success at UCLA."
In 19 starts this year, Plutko posted a 10-3 record and 2.25 ERA. An All-Pac 12 performer in each of his three college seasons, Plutko built a 2.29 career ERA at UCLA, where he's ranked second on the career wins list (29) and seventh on the school's strikeout list (273).
As a freshman, Plutko pitched in the same rotation as Trevor Bauer, the Tribe's top pitching prospect, and Gerrit Cole, who was taken No. 1 overall in 2011 by Pittsburgh.
Plutko was the last Draft pick that Cleveland announced it had signed prior to Friday's 5 p.m. ET deadline. Of their 39 total picks, the Indians agreed to terms with 24, including first-round selection Clint Frazier. The highest pick that went unsigned was 10th-rounder Ross Kivett, who played at Kansas State after attending nearby St. Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio.
Quote to note
"This year I'm going to go to Vegas, just see how much money I can lose. But I love to swim and I love the hot weather, so I can go out there and hang out for three days. And I can lay low."
-- manager Terry Francona, on his All-Star break plans.
• Center fielder Michael Bourn and third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall weren't in the starting lineup for Friday night's series opener against the Royals. Neither player is injured. Francona wanted to give Bourn a day off, though the manager sent him up as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning.
After the Indians recorded four straight singles, Bourn lifted a double into right-center field, putting two runs on the board for Cleveland in a decisive three-run inning to beat the Royals, 3-0. Bourn, who took Ryan Raburn's spot in the lineup, stayed in the game on defense and Drew Stubbs moved from center field to right.
Francona opted to sit Chisenhall with left-hander Bruce Chen starting for Kansas City. In 33 at-bats against southpaws this season, Chisenhall has a .091/.118/.242 slash line with six RBIs and one home run.
"We have games we're trying to win, we have a young kid that we're trying to develop, and you try to balance it," Francona said.
• Over Cleveland's last five games entering Friday, the club's starters recorded a 2.05 ERA while holding opposing hitters to a .185 batting average and two home runs. At Progressive Field, the rotation had posted a 3.79 ERA.
• By beating Blue Jays ace R.A. Dickey for the second time this season on Thursday, the Tribe is 8-4 against Cy Young Award winners this season. In those 12 games, the opposing starter is 4-8 with a 6.82 ERA. The Indians also have pinned losses on David Price, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Bartolo Colon, Justin Verlander and Felix Hernandez.
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.