Danny Salazar started season with Akron Aeros, now pitching for Cleveland Indians in Wild Card game

Aeros' owner says pitcher is cool under pressure

AKRON, Ohio - Danny Salazar's magical season started without much fanfare as the opening day starter for the AA Akron Aeros.

On Wednesday night, a sold-out Progressive Field will be screaming for Salazar when he starts the Wild Card game against either the Texas Rangers or the Tampa Bay Rays.

Salazar, 23, was impressive in Akron's opener, but took the loss in  a 1-0 game. He pitched in seven games with the Aeros and compiled a record of 2-3 with an ERA of 2.67.

Jim Pfander, general manager for the Aeros, said Salazar's stuff was electric and knew it wouldn't be long before he made it to the majors.

"The ball just sounds different when it pops in the mitt. You could tell right off the bat that Danny Salazar was going to be something special for the Indians," Pfander said.

Salazar was promoted to the AAA Columbus Clippers before he made his major league debut in July against the Toronto Blue Jays. He flirted with a no-hitter, giving up just one hit.

Ken Babby, the owner of the Aeros, said he doesn't believe Salazar will be affected by the pressure of his first major league playoff game.

"He's poised. He's got that grace under pressure attitude," Babby said.

Pfander said Salazar is reminding a lot of fans of another young pitching sensation that got the ball with the Indians in the late 90's.

"A lot of folks have kind of likened it to when Jaret Wright pitched the first game here at Canal Park in 1997 and ended up pitching in the playoffs for the Indians," he said.

Babby said he'll be at Wednesday's game, along with several other folks from the Aeros organization, and can't wait to see Salazar on the mound and in the spotlight.

"For Danny, what a great night it's going to be, taking the field at Progressive Field and starting a championship push," Babby said.

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