MESA, Ariz. (AP) — Danny Salazar breezed through his first outing for the Cleveland Indians this spring. No extra adrenaline from facing the Chicago Cubs. No interest in revisiting the World Series.
Just another day at work.
Salazar pitched two crisp innings, and Cleveland and Chicago played to a 1-1 tie in the Cactus League on Sunday.
“I was just trying to work on my fastball,” said Salazar, who allowed one hit and struck out three. “Trying to work down on it and the first guy that I face, it was a walk. But after that, just trying to relax and try to get my tempo back.”
The Indians were hit hard by injuries last season, but still won the AL Central and made it all the way to the World Series. Then they won three of the first four games against Chicago, but the Cubs rallied for their first title since 1908, winning in the 10th inning of Game 7.
The rematch — in name only, really — looked nothing like their classic meeting last fall, with each side taking the opportunity to a look at several players in front of a sellout crowd of 15,388 on a typically sunny Arizona day. Cubs manager Joe Maddon called it just another spring game, and Salazar sounded a similar note.
“What happened already happened,” he said. “I think that’s the past. This is a new year and we have a new goal and right now we’re just trying to get ready for the season.”
Salazar missed the final part of last season because of tightness in his right forearm, but returned in the World Series and pitched three scoreless innings in relief.
He went 11-6 with a 3.87 ERA in 25 starts last year before he got hurt, making the All-Star team for the first time.
“I think if you keep yourself healthy, you know there’s a lot of things that you can do,” he said.
Albert Almora Jr. walked and scored in the fourth for Chicago. Almora is expected to share time in center field with Jon Jay after Dexter Fowler signed with St. Louis as a free agent.
Jake Buchanan pitched two hitless innings for the Cubs, and Matt Szczur went 2 for 2 with an RBI single.
Saladino had two hits and scored a run.