Facing old team isn't weekend motivation for Chris Perez

DETROIT -- Almost three years ago, the Indians sent third baseman Mark DeRosa to St. Louis for relievers Chris Perez and Jess Todd. DeRosa and Todd are no longer part of the equation, but Perez returns to St. Louis Friday as the top closer in the big leagues with 19 saves.

Perez downplayed the reunion as the Indians head west to begin their first interleague series under National League rules at Busch Stadium.
"I was only there for 1 1/2 years," said Perez. "It's not like I was there for 10 years. I didn't help them win anything. I was a middle reliever, I don't think they really cared [that they traded me]."

Perez was acquired by the Cardinals as the 42nd overall pick in the 2006 draft out of the University of Miami. He made his big-league debut in 2008 and was traded to the Indians on June 27, 2009.

"I'm happy to go there because I have a bunch of friends left on the team," said Perez. "I played with pretty much half of their roster coming up through the minors. I'll just be happy to play big-league ball with the guys I started my career with."

Perez has converted 19 straight saves after blowing an opportunity on opening day this year. He was a closer throughout his minor-league career with the Cardinals and saved eight games for them in the big leagues in 2008 and 2009.

"I closed a little bit for them, but they never really gave me my shot," said Perez. "It is what it is. I don't know all the details on what happened at the trade deadline. There has been some rumors that it was up to the Indians and they could have picked me or Jason Motte [St. Louis' current closer].
"I don't know. I don't care. I'm glad I got traded. I got a good opportunity here. It worked out on their end, too. They won the World Series last year."

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