Five Questions with Chris Perez

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Five questions with closer Chris Perez after he failed to convert a save in Thursday's Opening Day 16-inning loss to Toronto.

Q: Did your strained oblique muscle in spring training affect the way you pitched in the ninth inning?
A: "It had nothing to do with my injury. It was all about bad pitches and giving guys too many pitches to hit."

Q: Given the way Justin Masterson pitched for the first eight innings, how frustrating was it not to be able to get him the victory?
A: "Oh, man, he did everything you wanted in an ace. He dominated. Two hits in eight innings with 10 strikeouts. ... This feels twice as bad. Any loss hurts, but this was the easiest save in baseball ... a three-run lead."

Q: Did you say anything to Masterson?
A: "I already apologized to Masterson. ... I'll have his back the rest of the year. That's my job."

Q: How tough is it to bounce back from failing your first save opportunity of the season?
A: "It's not the easiest thing, but I've been here before. I blew the first save opportunity in Class AA. It's not the same as the big leagues, but I've bounced back before. Hey, everybody wishes they could be Mariano Rivera."

Q: You pitched in two minor-league games and three Cactus League games in spring training because of your injury. Do you think you were rusty?
A: "If I had struggled in spring training, I might say that, but I was sharp. I was throwing strikes, attacking hitters, I had my stuff. I won't use that as an excuse.

"It wasn't the most ideal conditions in spring training for me, but if I wasn't ready to pitch, I wouldn't be here."

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