Indians option struggling right-hander Danny Salazar to minors

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GOODYEAR, Arizona — Danny Salazar's spring didn't go the way he or the Cleveland Indians hoped. He's going back to the minors — again.

The Indians optioned the right-hander to Triple-A Columbus on Friday, ending his shot at winning one of the club's two open spots in the starting rotation. The 25-year-old was roughed up in a start on Thursday, getting tagged for six earned runs — two homers — and six hits in 3 1-3 innings.

"We talked to Danny this morning and explained to him that he is going to open the season in Triple-A," manager Terry Francona said. "That just on the body of work we think he'd be best suited to start in Triple-A. We all feel that he is going to be a big part of what we do at some point, just right now he's not quite ready to do that."

Against the Reds, Salazar's fastball was high in the strike zone and down the middle. In four spring outings, Salazar went 1-2 with an 8.18 ERA, allowing 14 hits and 10 runs in 11 innings.

The Indians trust that Salazar has a bright future, but needs more work on refining his delivery and being more dependable.

"Just know what we've been seeing on the mound we've been using the word inconsistent a lot," Francona said. "That's such a big word — being consistent in our game. Danny can get there and he will and the sooner the better. That's why there is a Triple-A and fortunately he has an option. Hopefully he gets some things worked out where he comes back and is the type of pitcher we all believe he can be."

Salazar bounced between Columbus and Cleveland last season. He went 6-8 with a 4.25 ERA in 20 starts for the Indians. In 2013, he started the club's wild-card game against Tampa Bay.

With Salazar out of the running, left-hander T.J. House, Zach McAllister and Josh Tomlin are vying for the starting jobs. McAllister can work out of the bullpen, where he had success late last season.

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