- On July 3, 2006, Salazar signed with Indians' scout Lino Diaz, out of the Dominican Republic.
First scouted as a 15-year-old, then signed as a 16-year-old, Salazar's whole life has changed since joining the Indians. He still lives in his hometown of Santo Domingo, though in a different house.
He is married, and he and his wife, Iris, have two daughters, Dayry, born in 2009, and Iara, born late in 2012.
Danny has learned English, American culture, and . . . how to pitch.
Baseball is a way of life in the Dominican Republic, but the small town of Cabrera, located on the northern coast of the Caribbean island, is better known for its beautiful beaches than its big leaguers. That changed with Danny Salazar's ascent to the Indians' rotation last summer.
On days the young pitcher was scheduled to take the hill, fans back home in Cabrera would set up a big screen in a local park, so people could gather and watch the game. When he returned home over the winter, following Cleveland's one-game taste of the postseason, Salazar was welcomed with a parade in his honor.
"They had me up on a car," Salazar said with a smile. "That was amazing. It was bigger than I could've even imagined." (Bastian - mlb.com - 02/15/14)
Danny displays impressive athleticism and intangibles. He maintains a positive attitude. And he has an outstanding work ethic.
- January 2015: The Cleveland Police Department informed the Indians that Salazar will not be charged following an investigation into a sexual assault complaint.
The City Prosecutor examined the evidence involved in the case and no charges were issued. The case is now considered closed for Salazar.
The Cleveland Police issued the following statement: "Detectives presented the case involving rape allegations with the suspect being Danny Salazar to the City Prosecutor's Office today, and no charges were issued against Mr. Salazar."
May 22, 2016: As a teenager growing up in Santo Domingo, Indians right-hander Danny Salazar followed one Major League team obsessively.
"In the Dominican, it was either the Yankees or the Red Sox," Salazar said. "The Red Sox were my team."
"I love coming here. It is so different from all of the others. Every ballpark now looks the same," Salazar said. "This one feels like a special place. Coming here after watching the team play is an amazing thing."
"I just want to face (Big Papi) one last time before he retires. I don't care if he gets a home run or I strike him out. I just want to do it," Salazar said. "He's a guy I watched play when I was 12 years old. I wasn't even thinking about doing baseball for a living at that point. Now, being here and the same level he is, it is amazing."
It isn't just the Red Sox slugger or Fenway Park that has Salazar awestruck, it's also Red Sox great and Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez.
"Being on the mound, Pedro Martinez pitched there. That is the best part," Salazar said. "I got to meet Pedro before my bullpen [session], and then he watched my bullpen [session]. I got pretty nervous. That's the first time I've been nervous during a bullpen [session]." (Q Roberts - MLB.com - May 22, 2016)
July 2016: Salazar made the All-Star Game for the first time in his career.
Aug. 29-Sept. 1, 2016: Danny was on the paternity list.
- January 17, 2017: Salazar and the Tribe avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $3.4 million pact for 2017.
|Birth City:||Santo Domingo, D.R.|
|Draft:||2006 - Indians - Free agent|
Salazar has a 90-98 mph four-seam FASTBALL and has hit 100 mph. He also has a 92-94 mph SINKER and an 85-87 mph SLIDER to get out both lefties and righties, and feel for his average SPLIT-CHANGEUP to handle lefty batters.
2016 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 48.2% of the time; Sinker 20.2% of the time; Change 18.4% of the time; Slider 8.1%; Curve 4.9%; and Cutter .2% of the time.
- Danny has good command of his fastball. And he displayed improved command and effectiveness with both his slider and split/change in 2013, making his fastball an even more dangerous pitch.
He has learned to be a pitcher, instead of just a thrower. His composure is impressive. Late in 2013 and early in 2014, Salazar learned more about how to mix his pitches.
"Now I think about how I'm going to attack guys," Salazar said. "If you face a good hitter but know how to pitch, you can keep them from making good contact against you. Sometimes hitters will hit the ball hard, but if you make good pitches you can get hitters out."
Columbus Clippers manager Chris Tremie, who also managed Danny in Akron, said, "He has a good, live arm. He's really come a long way with his composure and his ability to repeat his pitches. He's an exciting young pitcher to watch."
- If Salazar can't hold up as a starter, his power fastball could be electric in the bullpen.
July 11, 2013: In his first six innings in the Major Leagues, Salazar gave up just the two hits and one run. He set down seven hitters on strikes while issuing a single walk, using 89 pitches (64 strikes) in his introduction to The Show. He became just the 17th starter since 1916 to keep his opponent to two hits or fewer and two runs or fewer, while recording at least seven strikeouts in his Major League debut.
"He's got unbelievable stuff," teammate Jason Giambi said in 2013. "He's still learning. He wants to learn. He's just going to keep getting better and better."
In 2010, Salazar struggled to command the strike zone and his stock dropped dramatically when he needed Tommy John surgery to fix his throwing elbow.
Salazar could have fallen off Cleveland's radar entirely, but he used his rehab stint to not only strengthen his arm, but to reshape his delivery mechanics. As the pitcher gained a comfort level with his revised approach, and the Indians gradually increased his workload, Salazar began to see a noticeable improvement in pitch velocity. Those fastballs that used to sit in the 91-94 mph range were now popping into the catcher's glove at 94-98 mph.
"He always had a live arm," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said. "But that velocity has continued to build over time. It doesn't just happen. Danny's worked really hard to make that happen, both with his throwing program and his diligence with his routines, and his work with our strength and conditioning staffs and our traininers. It's a byproduct of his work." (Bastian - mlb.com - 02/15/14)
In April 2014, Salazar became the first pitcher in the modern era of MLB to record 10 strikeouts in less than 4 innings pitched.
August 3, 2014: Salazar pitched his first career shutout.
Pre-Spring Training, 2016: The Indians worked with Salazar on developing a changeup, but the starter could not complete the task in the traditional sense. The pitcher gripped the baseball in the typical circle-change style and simply was unable to make it work the way it usually works.
Salazar's arm angle, combined with the way he released the ball, created more of a tumbling action when he began working on the offspeed pitch years ago. No, Salazar could not throw a traditional changeup. Instead, he developed a pitch that is one-of-a-kind—and now one of the best pitches in baseball.
"It was really just luck that he throws it this way," Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway said. "The way he pitches, it just turned it into something unique, and it comes out like kind of a forkball or split."
Salazar's "changeup," referred to as a "split-change" due to its movement, has always been a good weapon for him, but it was a great pitch in 2015. The hard-throwing righthander credits his improved pitch sequencing last year for the better results with his changeup. Salazar began featuring a two-seam sinker more, reduced his four-seam fastball and slider usage and learned when and how to best utilize the split-change.
"Another year of throwing and getting comfortable at the Major League level obviously had a lot to do with it," Callaway said. "But what I thought he really did a good job of was getting his fastball over and in better spots, to where it kind of opened up more chase and more swings at the changeup. It's such a good pitch, and it's such an odd pitch, that it seems like it'd be hard to control, but he did a lot better job than I ever would've thought of getting it over and near the zone." (Bastian - MLB.com - 2/26/16)
- Salazar had such a poor start in 2017 for the Indians, that he was demoted to the bullpen at the end of May. His record after 10 starts: 3-5 with a 5.50 ERA and allowed 55 hits and 28 walks in 52.1 innings.
Manager Terry Francona hopes being in the bullpen will help Salazar work on his daily throwing routine and regain his confidence.
"He's not being banished to the bullpen," Francona said. "We explained everything to him, why and what we're trying to achieve. He'll throw a bullpen tomorrow and we'll get him back on the road to carving people up."
Entering the 2017 season, Salazar had a career record of 33-27 and 3.72 ERA, with allowing 438 hits and 59 home runs in 484 innings pitched.
August 2010-July 2011: Salazar underwent Tommy John surgery. One full year of recovery and rehab followed.
June 2-15, 2014: Danny was on the D.L. with a right arm strain.
August 2-18, 2016: Salazar was on the D.L. with right elbow inflammation.
- September 12-Oct 25, 2016: An MRI on Salazar's right forearm found a mild strain of the flexor muscle. Salazar will receive a PRP (platelet rich plasma) injection in the forearm to help the healing process. He will not be able to pick up a baseball for an estimated 10 days.
The best case scenario for Salazar to take the mound again for the Indians is in three to four weeks, which would be in the AL Playoffs.
- June 4-July 22, 2017: Salazar was placed on the 10-day DL with right shoulder soreness.