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Danny Salazar placed on 10-day IL with groin strain

It was fun while it lasted, Daniel

Houston Astros v Cleveland Indians Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images

Danny Salazar rode in to town with a new head of hair and a fastball that couldn’t touch 90 mph if his life depended on it. And just like that ... he’s gone again.

The Cleveland Indians have placed their beleaguered starter on the 10-day disabled list with a right groin strain. Left-handed reliever Tyler Olson joined him on the 10-day injured list with a “non-baseball medical condition,” according to reporter Mandy Bell.

Salazar told media after his start on Thursday that his groin was keeping him from using his whole body to pitch and it was affecting his velocity. The start was supposed to be the triumphant return of one of Cleveland’s greatest fireballers; it was the first time he pitched in almost two calendar years, and it was supposed to be glorious. Or, at the very least, not this bad.

Reports from the minors had him hitting 92-93 on the gun, which is nothing compared to the 97 he used to touch in his prime, but with his deadly changeup he probably could have made it work in the low-90s. Instead, he struggled to maintain velocity in the mid-80s, and even Statcast wasn’t sure if he was throwing sliders or fastballs for a while. It was ugly.

A groin injury could definitely explain the dip, and maybe even the body language he displayed on the mound that was, as some media members noted, not exactly at maximum effort. That’s not necessarily Salazar wasn’t trying or anything, but after numerous arm injuries — and now an apparently groin flare-up — he might have been gun-shy about letting it rip in his first start back.

Replacing Salazar and Olson on the 25-man roster will be right-handed relievers Phil Maton and Hunter Wood. The Indians claimed Maton off waivers from the Padres last month, and Wood was brought over in a trade on Sunday.

In 24.1 innings with the Padres this season, Maton allowed 21 earned runs off six home runs. The outstanding strikeout stuff he consistently displayed in the minors has not yet found its way to the majors, but the Indians are hoping it does. As for Wood, the 25-year-old allowed eight runs in 29 innings with the Rays before the trade.