Bruce Chen's days in the Kansas City rotation are probably numbered.
The veteran lefty has made two starts in place of Jason Vargas, who is recovering from an appendectomy, and he will make a third on Sunday as the Royals bid for a four-game sweep of the Indians at Kauffman Stadium.
In all, the 37-year-old Chen has made six starts this season, going 2-2 with a 5.76 ERA.
Cleveland will counter with Danny Salazar, who is coming off of his first start since May. He mixed his offspeed pitches nicely in his last start against Minnesota, earning the win after five-plus innings.
"I thought when he did run into trouble, I thought he really reached back for his best stuff," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Because of that, the pitch count got pretty high. But I really thought he looked good."
Salazar, who was instrumental in the Tribe's run to the American League's top Wild Card spot in 2013, posted a 5.53 ERA in eight starts with the big league club earlier this season before a stint with Triple-A Columbus.
"From all the scouts that have seen him," Francona said, "he's a lot closer to the Danny that got called up last year than the one we saw earlier in the year."
Salazar looked the part in his last start, when he struck out six in five innings and allowed only one run.
Indians: Asdrubal scheduled to return
After battling back spasms since Monday, Asdrubal Cabrera is expected to return to the lineup for Sunday's series finale.
The shortstop underwent a normal pregame workout on Saturday. He attempted to talk his way into the lineup for that game, but the club decided to play it safe and wait another day.
Royals: Bullpen a savior of late
Kansas City needed a lengthy outing from Jeremy Guthrie on Saturday, and it didn't get it. He went 5 2/3 innings, leaving the bullpen to eat 3 1/3 on a night it really could've used ample rest.
Royals manager Ned Yost ended up using four relievers against the Indians on Saturday night. He had used six on Thursday and four on Friday.
Greg Holland and Wade Davis were essentially unavailable on Friday because they'd each been used three days in a row. Both worked scoreless innings on Saturday.
The bullpen might be wiped, but it's a big reason why the club has won five straight.
"I believe that we have the best bullpen in the league," Aaron Crow said. "From top to bottom, we've got seven guys out there that can get anybody out at any time."
• Vargas threw a simulated game on Saturday as he recovers from an appendectomy.
• With 82 career wins, Chen is tied with Yankees legend Mariano Rivera for the most by a Panamanian-born player.
Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.