CLEVELAND — Danny Salazar's only chance to pitch in the postseason was if the Indians made the World Series.
They both met their goals.
Salazar, who hasn't pitched since Sept. 9 because of tightness in his right forearm, will be on Cleveland's roster and is expected to pitch against the Chicago Cubs. Salazar's 2016 looked to be over when the All-Star was shelved in September, but he's worked his way back to help the Indians.
An 11-game winner, Salazar cleared his final hurdle by pitching three simulated innings on Sunday night with manager Terry Francona, pitching coach Mickey Callaway and Cleveland's front office keeping a close eye on every delivery.
"He threw three innings and under those circumstances, it's not the easiest to probably reach your best velocity, but he was getting after it pretty good," Francona said.
So after juggling his rotation for weeks with both Salazar and Carlos Carrasco (broken hand) out, Francona suddenly has another option to throw at the NL champs and their deep lineup.
After Corey Kluber starts Tuesday night's opener, the Indians plan to use Trevor Bauer in Game 2 as long as his stitched pinkie is OK. From there, Josh Tomlin will start Game 3 and Francona can start either Salazar or left-hander Ryan Merritt, who shut out Toronto for 4 1/3 innings in the decisive Game 5 of the ALCS.
"We've talked about using three starters, then after the third game we'd kind of see where we are," Francona said. "We have Merritt, we have Danny. Neither one would pitch a full game, but between those two, you know especially with Danny, it gives you a guy that made the All-Star team that we could pitch really whenever we want."
That's about as firm as Francona can get with any plans and he joked that every decision is subject to change. After all, the Indians had to reshuffle their rotation for the ALCS when Bauer sliced his hand open while repairing a drone.
"Nothing's official," Francona said. "So if we have another drone incident or anything with model airplanes or anything, we reserve the right till we have to turn it in."
The rosters must be completed and submitted to Major League Baseball by 10 a.m. Tuesday.