Chris Perez

Chris Perez to be activated in September

Chris Perez (ankle) isn't expected to be activated from the disabled list until rosters expand next month.

Perez began a rehab assignment with High-A Rancho Cucamonga on Monday, but he'll remain there through next Friday. The veteran reliever struggled with a 5.03 ERA and 1.45 WHIP while walking 21 over 39 1/3 innings before landing on the DL earlier this month with bone spurs in his right ankle.

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Chris Perez Will Begin Rehab Assignment Monday

Perez (ankle) will begin a rehab assignment at High-A Rancho Cucamonga on Monday, Eric Stephen of True Blue LA reports.

Perez will throw one inning with Rancho Cucamonga, and that may end up being the extent of his rehab assignment. He's eligible to return from the DL on Tuesday, though the Dodgers could choose to wait an extra day to afford him some additional recovery time following Monday's outing.

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Chris Perez To DL

I’m sure everyone has noticed how awful reliever Chris Perez has been this season, After signing a one-year 2.3 million dollar free agent deal with the Dodgers this winter, the bearded right hander has been horrendous for the majority of the season. Now we may have an answer as to why.

The Dodgers have placed Perez on the 15-day DL with bone spurs in his right ankle. In a corresponding move, the Dodgers have called up right hander Carlos Frias from Albuquerque. They’ve also transferred Paul Maholm to the 60-day DL. I had no idea that Perez was even injured. So either this was kept hidden, or it’s some kind of phantom injury. The Dodgers are masters at roster machination, so it wouldn’t surprise me.

Chris Perez was 0-3 with a 5.03 ERA in 39.1 innings pitched this season. He posted a 6.9 whiff per nine rate with a 4.8 walk rate. He whiffed 30 and walked 21 in 42 games.

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For Chris Perez, it's back to the drawing board to fix delivery issues

SAN FRANCISCO – In recording a perfect inning in the eighth of a blowout victory Friday night at AT&T Park, Dodgers right-hander Chris Perez threw 16 pitches.

He estimated 13 of them included the type of delivery he is striving to replicate every time he throws. Three nights before in Pittsburgh, though, Perez threw 25 pitches and only felt right a couple times.

Not coincidentally, he totally imploded and issued four straight walks in the Pittsburgh game. But Perez remains confident in the mechanical adjustments he and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt have made in recent weeks.

“If you take away that one outing in Pittsburgh, the last two weeks have been pretty good,” Perez said Saturday. “We figured out what caused that one outing. If it happens again, hopefully I can make the adjustment pitch to pitch, not five hitters later.”

Perez said he has made around a dozen mechanical adjustments to his delivery at various points this season, a trying one for the 29-year-old right-hander who signed an incentive-laden deal with the Dodgers in December.

“One leads to another,” he said.

The latest one, made the afternoon after the hellish outing, involves Perez staying “six or so inches” more upright.

“That lets my foot turn more towards the plate,” he said. “If I bend over, my foot lands and I’m pointed more towards the batter’s box.”

Perez has a 5.06 ERA in 371/3 innings this season, a run and a half worse than his career mark. But he struggled in his final year in Cleveland in 2013, posting a 4.33 ERA in 54 innings and losing his closer’s role.

He felt off mechanically then, too, but spent little time tinkering.

“For whatever reason our pitching coaches couldn’t identify it, or didn’t want to, or nothing,” Perez said. “They just kind of let me figure it out. This has been about a good year and a half of creating bad habits.”

The Dodgers approached him in spring training about making some changes. Perez said he requested they give him time to work his old way, and they did, and he kept recording scoreless performances until early May.

“I was going good, so they didn’t say a word,” he said.

But he started going bad fast, and by May 22 in New York, he had a 5.68 ERA. That’s when the changes came.

The struggles of Perez and other veteran relievers have led to the expectation that the Dodgers will seek out additional relief help before Thursday’s trading deadline. But Manager Don Mattingly insisted Saturday that he believes his bullpen, as structured, is capable of performing at an elite level.

“We haven’t pitched to our best yet,” Perez said. “But I think we definitely have the experience. Me, Paul (Maholm) and Jamey (Wright) just need to get a little more consistent.”

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Chris Perez reflects on his tenure with the Tribe

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Chris Perez had an unceremonious exodus from Cleveland.

As the calendar flipped toward late September, he lost his grip on the closer's gig and became an observer as the Indians surged to a postseason berth.
Prior to a tumultuous final season with the organization -- one that included a misdemeanor drug abuse charge, a career-high 4.33 ERA and an injured pitching shoulder -- Perez twice earned his way onto the American League All-Star team to represent the Tribe. During his five-year stint in Cleveland, he compiled a 3.33 ERA and 124 saves, the third-most in franchise history. At times, he rubbed fans, teammates and those in the organization the wrong way by speaking his mind about attendance, shunning certain media members or riling up opposing players with hand gestures.

On Monday night, the Indians -- who released Perez last October -- will begin a three-game series against the Dodgers, who signed Perez to a one-year, $2.3 million contract in December.

Perez recently spoke with about his tenure in Cleveland, his new outlook on his career and his experience with the Dodgers. The right-hander has racked up a 5.20 ERA in 27 2/3 innings this season. He said outfielder Yasiel Puig, the 23-year-old Cuban sensation, "is like a big kid," and that Clayton Kershaw's no-hitter earlier this month was "probably the most dominant start I've ever seen. It was fun to watch." He also said he hasn't paid much attention to how the Indians have fared this season.

Here are the highlights from the interview with Perez.

CC: How would you explain your output this season (27 2/3 innings, 26 hits, 26 strikeouts, but 5.20 ERA)?
CP: I've had some bad luck and also some bad mechanics. The first month or so, I was still getting results and they didn't come to me with anything. Then I had a couple hiccups and now the last month or so, we've been changing stuff up. We're definitely going in the right direction. I had to take a couple steps back to go forward.

I got into some bad habits the last couple years, just because my arm wasn't feeling good. Just some lazy habits to try to generate velocity. I had to go back to step one with my mechanics and they've been really good with that here. Every outing, I'm working on a little thing here, a little thing there. It was feeling foreign to me. Hopefully in future outings I'll feel more normal and more like myself.

CC: Vinnie Pestano, who was dealing with mechanical flaws, was sent to Triple-A to sort out his issues. He said he could never have fixed his delivery at the big league level, because there was too much to correct and he couldn't afford to cost the team games. How have you managed to rectify your problems while at the big league level?
CP: It's tough up here because you're trying to win games. The way we play, we've had a lot of close games, so there's really not a lot of opportunities to go out there and just say, 'Hey, go out there and work on this. Try to get a guy out.' It's definitely tough up here to go through those kinds of things, but at the same time, luckily I'm still here at this level and I'm working on the side to figure it out.

CC: Your fastball velocity is back to 94.3 mph this season, after it tapered off to 92.8 mph last year. (It's currently at its highest average since 2010, when Perez posted a 1.71 ERA in 63 appearances with the Tribe.) How important has it been to be able to throw as hard as you used to?
CP: It's more frustrating than anything, going through this little stretch here, because it's one thing if you don't have your stuff and your arm is hurting and the numbers aren't there, but this is the best my arm has felt in two or three years, so it's more frustrating, just because I should be able to pitch like I used to since my velocity is back. The last few years, that wasn't the case. I had to hit my spots and rely on movement. This year, I've been able to challenge guys and blow it by them. It just hasn't been working.

CC: What triggered your late-season struggles last year with the Indians?
CP: It was just all the bad habits I got into in the first half of the year just to get by, when I got healthy and was throwing hard, it all flared up at once. I was flying open earlier. Early in the year, I was flying open and trying to throw it as hard as I could. When I had velocity, it just counteracted it. I was showing the ball to the hitter earlier. My front shoulder was flying open, so they could see the ball easier. And then also, just trying to get results while we were in a pennant race, it all kind of just came together and I had bad results.

CC: How difficult was it not to contribute during the final playoff push?
CP: It wasn't that bad. We won. Luckily I didn't cost us a playoff spot by my troubles or anything. We still ended up winning a Wild Card spot and making it to the one-game playoff.

But personally, it was tough. I had put in four years on a bad team just hoping to get to that point and when we got there, I wasn't a part of it. That's baseball. You live and learn. It was a good learning experience. It all worked out where I'm now able to be here with the Dodgers, which is awesome.

CC: You'll be a free agent at the end of the season. Have you thought about how your career might play out?
CP: Closing is fun, but I've been there and done that. Now I just want to win. If closing and winning go together, then fine. But if not, then I'd rather be on a good team and help try to get to a championship than close for a crappy team.

CC: Will it be strange to face some of your former teammates?
CP: It might be weird to face one or two guys, but other than that, I just hope we beat them. I don't care about facing anybody. I've faced some of them when they're on different teams anyways. The only guys it would be kind of weird to face would be [Michael] Brantley or [Jason] Kipnis, just because I played with them the longest. But everybody else, I'm just hoping it would be another out.

CC: Will it be nice to catch up with some of the guys while they are in town?
CP: A couple of them, like [Josh] Tomlin and [Justin] Masterson. But for the most part, not really. Nobody in the bullpen is really the same. Maybe [Cody Allen]. There are a couple guys. The coaching staff, I wouldn't care to see again, no.

CC: How would you evaluate your five years with the Indians?
CP: It ended a lot better than it started, team-wise. What we were able to do last year was great. Personally, I didn't pitch the way I wanted to the last two months of my time there, but overall, I gave it everything I had almost every time I went out there and for the most part, I did my job. I had a good time doing it. I have a couple good memories, but at the same time, there was a lot of turnover with coaches, pitching coaches, managers. It wasn't really stable. I think for the most part, I had a good time there, but it ended on a bad note for me, but overall for the team, it was great. So, it was fine. Things worked out for me. I had a couple good years there. They gave me the chance to close and I established myself. Hopefully it'll keep me in the league longer because of that.

CC: What was it like to see Progressive Field packed for a playoff game?
CP: It was exciting, with everybody waving their towels and stuff. It was louder than Opening Day, which is usually the only time it's sold out. It was a night game, so it was a little more energetic. But I knew I had no chance of pitching, so I was just observing, and we didn't score, so it was kind of a letdown. But at the same time, it was good what they accomplished. That fan base was probably really excited going into this year and trying to build on it. It was a good year for Tito and it changed the atmosphere and culture there.

CC: Do you miss anything about Cleveland?
CP: Not really. Maybe Lucky's Cafe in Tremont.

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Chris Perez gets five outs for save

Chris Perez got a five-out save in the Dodgers' 9-4 win over the Twins in the first game of Thursday's doubleheader.

Perez came in with the tying run on deck in the eighth, so it qualified as a save chance, even though it was a four-run game at the time. The Dodgers then added one more run in the top of the ninth. It was Perez's first save after six holds for the Dodgers. He's performed well, allowing just two runs in 13 1/3 innings to date, but he's not much of a threat for more saves.

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Chris Perez at peace with his workload

In the eighth inning Wednesday with the Dodgers leading the Phillies 5-2, right-handers Kenley Jansen and Chris Perez were warming up in the bullpen.

The decision of who would pitch the ninth inning literally came down to the last minute. Had Adrian Gonzalez delivered an RBI in the final at-bat of the inning, Perez would have gotten the ninth. Instead, Gonzalez flied out to deep center field.

It was a save situation, so Jansen got the ball. He pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his eighth save. It was his 15th appearance of the season, which leads the major leagues.

Perez had at least two ways to react to the situation. He’s saved 132 games in his career. Why not try and make it 133, while Jansen hasn’t had back-to-back days off since April 10-11?

Alternatively, he could accept his role, which the 28-year-old did Thursday.

“Honestly, I didn’t have any expectations coming in (to the season),” he said. “I just wanted to come in and be able to get some outs. They could use me however they want.”

It’s because of his experience that Perez is at peace with manager Don Mattingly’s decision Wednesday.

“It’s usually feast or famine,” he said. “You go through a stretch where you get a bunch of save opportunities in a row, or you go through a stretch where we’re scoring a lot of runs and the other team’s not, and you’re just trying to get some work in.

“This year it’s been a little more consistent appearance-wise. I’ve been used in all types of games, whether we’re up or down. It keeps me sharp.”

The opposite has been true for Jansen, who was on pace to appear in 110 games going into Thursday’s game between the Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies.

Mattingly is aware of Jansen’s workload. Like Perez, he believes in the law of averages – that the need for a closer tends to balance out over the course of one season.

“There’s been some factors where our starters are 12th in innings pitched in our league,” Mattingly said. “We’ve had to get almost 80 innings out of our bullpen. Our starters have thrown (124). We’ve asked a lot of innings out there. So guys are getting more usage.

“It’s going to get better. We’re seeing it get better because guys are getting stronger.”

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3N2 Signs Los Angeles Dodgers’ Chris Perez to Endorsement Deal

Sporting goods company 3N2 has come to terms with Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Chris Perez on a product endorsement deal. Perez, who previously played for the St. Louis Cardinals and Cleveland Indians, will wear 3N2 footwear and apparel as a Dodger during the 2014 Major League Baseball (MLB) season.

Perez joins a roster of 3N2 athletes that includes the Philadelphia Phillies’ AJ Burnett, Milwaukee Brewer and former National League MVP Ryan Braun, and two-time Olympic Softball medalist Natasha Watley.

Perez, who enjoyed back-to-back All Star seasons as a Cleveland Indian in 2011 and 2012, will look to reestablish himself in Los Angeles, fortifying a bullpen with World Series aspirations.

“Chris is a passionate guy – about life and about baseball. Los Angeles is a great fit for him. He leaves it all on the diamond, and the LA fans will love him,” says 3N2 CEO Sean Murphy. “He’s also a great fit for 3N2 – we look forward to a long relationship.”

Said Perez, “I’m really excited to join the 3N2 brand. They’ve been great to me so far and I’m looking forward to the partnership that lies ahead.”

About 3N2
Headquartered in Orlando, FL, 3N2 maintains a singular focus on designing and developing the most dynamic line of high-performance athletic footwear and apparel in the marketplace. Learn more at

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Chris Perez shows good early returns

Here’s a free tip to that legion of relievers making plans to be in the Dodgers’ bullpen this season: Better be on your game early and often.

General Manager Ned Colletti has assembled a relief corps of pitchers who are used to being in at the end of games, including former closers Brian Wilson, Brandon League and Chris Perez.

Perez is the former Indians closer signed during the off-season, and his  early spring results are all of the encouraging variety.

Tuesday was a relievers game anyway, seven different members of the bullpen filling in for starter Zack Greinke, who remains out with a calf strain.

Several relievers shined in the Dodgers’ 4-1 loss to the Mariners at Camelback Ranch, but particularly encouraging was the pitching of Perez.

The right-hander was released by Cleveland after going 5-3 with 25 saves, a 4.33 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP last season. Perez, 28, wanted a chance to rebuild his career and signed a one-year deal with the Dodgers.

Tuesday he pitched a perfect fifth inning, striking out two. In two innings this spring, he has not allowed a hit or a walk and has struck out three.

Wilson actually started the game, and like Kenley Jansen, Chris Withrow and Red Patterson, did not allow a run.

J.P. Howell was the reliever who faltered, allowing three runs (two earned) and four hits in one inning. Jamey Wright also gave up a run in his one inning.
The Dodgers’ only run came via a solo home run from outfielder Trayvon Robinson, the former Dodgers prospect who was traded to Seattle in the deal for Tim Federowicz in 2011. Robinson spent two years with the Mariners and ended up with the Orioles, who released him at the end of last season before he signed back up with the Dodgers in January.

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New Dodgers reliever Chris Perez says injuries affected his arm slot in 2013

Chris Perez did not have an impressive 2013: his 1.43 WHIP, fuelled by the right-hander giving more than a hit per inning, was a career-worst, as was his 4.33 ERA. The former Indians closer landed with the Dodgers in the offseason and as he told Jon Weisman of, the injuries he battled in the first half of 2013 caused him to adjust his arm slot, meaning he never really got his mechanics right all season.

“Once I got healthy in the second half of the year, I went back to my normal arm slot,” he said. “But I had been pitching three of four months from different arm slots. I was in between arm slots, which is tough to do, especially in my role last year as a closer. … This year, coming in healthy, I’m back to my normal arm slot and hopefully it stays there all year.”

Perez was dealing with shoulder issues right from the start of Spring Training in 2013 and took months to fully recover, attempting to pitch through the pain before finally hitting the DL with stiffness in his rotator cuff in late May. Despite seeming to put those health issues behind him after that stint, things actually got worse for the reliever in the second half, as he gave up seven home runs and 33 hits in just 27 1/3 innings, contributing to his 5.60 ERA and 1.50 WHIP, a performance Perez obviously attributes to his mechanical issues.

The 28-year-old won't be anywhere near the closer role in 2014. Strikeout machine Kenley Jansen is firmly entrenched as the first choice in the ninth, with former Giants closer Brian Wilson lined up to be his primary set-up man. If Perez can stay healthy and put together a performance like he did in 2012, he may find a team willing to pay him to be their closer next offseason.

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Last year behind him, Chris Perez starts fresh with LA

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- If all Chris Perez needs is a change of scenery, he's got it.

He's in Dodgers camp with a clean slate. He's not expected to live up to a big salary or save games, let alone a franchise.

He said he's here to reestablish himself as an effective Major League reliever. Like several new Dodgers, he said he is willing to take on a lesser role for the chance to play on a World Series contender.

He takes the blame for last year's struggles, saying he made mechanical changes so he could pitch through injuries, but those changes turned into bad habits that turned pitches into home runs (11 in 54 innings). By September, he had lost the closer job in Cleveland. At the end of November, he was released.

He said -- and he's shown so far in a few impressive bullpen sessions -- that he's healthy.

"Last year was a learning experience, and I learned I can't pitch through [injuries]," Perez said. "I felt I had to stay out there. I feel a lot better now. I feel I can pitch back to that [All-Star] level. But I've still got to show it. I'm excited for the games to start. I've got a little chip on my shoulder. I've got something to prove."

He even thanked the Indians for releasing him quickly, giving him extra time to find a new home.

"No hard feelings," he said. "I understand why they did what they did. They could have non-tendered me much later."

The home he found is in a Dodgers bullpen where 20-save seasons are almost mandatory for admittance. In addition to Perez, Kenley Jansen, Brian Wilson, Brandon League, J.P. Howell and Javy Guerra have each done it in the big leagues.

Perez, 28, had 25 saves for the Indians last year, but he also had a career-high 4.33 ERA, a shoulder strain that cost him most of Spring Training, then a month before the All-Star break with discomfort in a different part of the shoulder, and a misdemeanor marijuana arrest.

"Just one of those up and down years," he said.

He also had a $7.3 million salary last year that projected to increase to $9 million in 2014 through arbitration, which was the main reason the Indians cut him loose. The Dodgers signed him for a $2.3 million base and as much as $6 million more in incentives if he appears in 60 games and finishes 55 of them.

Perez's salary climbed to $7.3 million after back-to-back All-Star seasons in 2011-12. A former first-round pick of St. Louis, he was dealt to Cleveland in 2009 for Mark DeRosa and emerged as the Indians closer in 2010. He has 132 career saves, more than Jansen or League or Howell or Guerra.

Perez said he knows he could have had a closer job elsewhere, but chose a lower profile role with the Dodgers.

"But for me, this is a good situation," he said. "It's fun to be part of a team like this."

It's fun, he said, to be in a bullpen as loaded as the Dodgers' appears to be.

"It's fun to imagine what the games will be like," he said. "The way our starting rotation stacks up, they get us as deep as the sixth inning and with all the arms we have in the bullpen, it's exciting to think about. And the [reputation] will get around the league. By the sixth or seventh inning, game's over. That's fun to think about."

Not much fun was last year's misdemeanor arrest, the coverage of which led Perez to impose a three-month media blackout. Like the injury, he said that's history.

"I don't think that was a distraction to me as a pitcher at all," he said. "I wasn't on the mound thinking, I've got to go to court. The mound was my sanctuary. I was always able to concentrate and focus on baseball. Now it's all behind me, everything legal is fulfilled and I've turned the page."

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New Dodgers reliever Chris Perez is a present with a past

Who really knows if the Dodgers gave their bullpen a boost this week with the addition of Chris Perez?

But they most assuredly gave us a Christmas gift. Us, as in the media, a group that:

1) Celebrates the absurd.
2) Trumpets the outspoken.
3) Highlights the offensive.

In Perez, the Dodgers just signed a Triple Crown candidate. Unless you consider it uninteresting that Perez was busted in June after a package containing marijuana arrived at his home, addressed to the family dog.

Perez was playing and living in Cleveland at the time. The package reportedly was sent from Los Angeles, so maybe joining the Dodgers was simply Perez’s way of eliminating the middle man.

For the record, we’re of the opinion that marijuana use isn’t the most insidious crime on the planet. Perhaps that’s because, as a fan of the NBA, we appreciate the role weed plays in keeping that league going.

But we also support the notion that pets can be more entertaining than people, and, honestly, who wouldn’t want to meet a pooch that was on the receiving end of a pot shipment?

Whatever his explanation, Perez’s addition – and think about this one for a few seconds – now makes Brian Wilson’s beard only the second-most intriguing resident of the Dodgers’ bullpen. Wilson’s beard doesn’t even pack as much color as Perez does. Amazing.

The Dodgers certainly aren’t the Angels, and we don’t just mean because the Dodgers occasionally make the playoffs. The Dodgers also have significantly more personality in their clubhouse than do the Angels, who can be about as titillating as watching grass grow.

Speaking of grass, Perez also admitted to police last spring that marijuana found in his home was for his “personal use.” Authorities apparently were unable to get a similar confession out of Perez’s dog.

It’s easy to be less than serious about this topic because the charges Perez faced were a misdemeanor. According to reports, he eventually pleaded no contest and received a year of probation, meaning he might have been punished more harshly for speeding.

Throughout his time with the Indians, Perez often was called the “colorful closer.” He also answers to the nickname “Pure Rage” and has been known to bust out the celebratory moves of professional wrestlers as a way to punctuate noteworthy strikeouts.

The Dodgers had an overly animated pitcher once named Jose Lima, who cut a mambo album and performed at wedding receptions.

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Chris Perez getting $2.5M base from Dodgers

Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports that Chris Perez will receive a $2.25 million base salary in his one-year contract with the Dodgers.
There are also incentives that can bump the deal up to $6 million or possibly even $8 million if Perez winds up closing some games. Of course, with Kenley Jansen and Brian Wilson already at the back end of the bullpen, there will need to be some injuries before he sees time in the ninth inning.

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Dodgers to sign Chris Perez

A source told Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times that the Dodgers and Chris Perez are close to a one-year deal.
It looks like Perez will take the guaranteed money rather than hoping that a team like the Astros or Orioles will step up with an offer that would keep him in the closer's role. On the Dodgers, he'll certainly be behind Kenley Jansen and Brian Wilson in line for saves, and he's probably a worse bet than Chris Withrow.

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Teams discussing different roles with Chris Perez

Some of the teams talking to Chris Perez are discussing him in a role other than closer, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer hears.
Perez has primarily served as closer in his six-year career, registering at least 23 saves in each of the last four seasons. But the 28-year-old struggled to a 4.33 ERA last season and was outright released by the Indians following the season. The Mets and Orioles are two teams who have been linked to Perez in recent days.

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Mets have eye on former closer Chris Perez

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Still on the Mets’ wish list this winter is supplementing the bullpen and providing insurance in case closer Bobby Parnell isn’t ready for the 2014 season following neck surgery. The need is more pressing after LaTroy Hawkins agreed to become the Rockies’ closer last month.

One option the Mets are considering is former Indians closer Chris Perez, according to a person with knowledge of the club’s thinking. The person requested anonymity to speak freely on the matter.

Perez is just 28 years old and a two-time All-Star. He is two years removed from compiling a career-high 39 saves. He recorded 36 saves in 2012 and was one of the sport’s premier set-up men in 2011, posting a 1.71 ERA in 63 games.

But 2013 was a disaster. On the field, he had a 4.33 ERA and boycotted the media for nearly two months. Off the field, he and his wife were arrested on drug possession charges on June 4. The Indians released him on Halloween.

The combination makes Perez is a possibility for the Mets, who are working with about $15 million for the remainder of the offseason.

“The bullpen is important,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Sunday. “The bullpen needs to improve. I think most of that improvement is going to come through the development of our young good arms in the system. Would we like to have somebody more established that could pitch with Parnell in the8th and 9th inning? Yup. I think, all things being equal, we’d like that.”

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Chris Perez on site at the Winter Meetings

Chris Perez is on site at the Winter Meetings, having face-to-face discussions with interested teams.
It's a smart move for Perez, who had a number of off-field incidents in his final couple years with Cleveland. He was released in late October and is now trying to find a spot at the back end of a new bullpen. Perez, 28, posted a rough 4.33 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and 54/21 K/BB ratio across 54 innings this past summer for the Indians.

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Orioles could have interest in Chris Perez

Britt Ghiroli of reports that the Orioles could be interested in free agent closer Chris Perez.
The O's have set to the open market in search of a closer after dealing Jim Johnson to the A's, and Perez can be added to a list of possible candidates that already includes John Axford. The 28-year-old struggled in his final season in Cleveland, posting a 4.33 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and 54/21 K/BB ratio over 54 innings.

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Indians release closer Chris Perez

Facing a decision on whether to tender him a 2014 contract via arbitration, the Indians have decided to simply release closer Chris Perez.

Perez made off-field headlines when he was arrested for having marijuana delivered to his house in his dog’s name this season, but he also missed time on the disabled list and struggled with a 4.33 ERA and five blown saves in 30 chances. He was a total mess down the stretch.

Perez was acquired from the Cardinals in the mid-2009 trade for Mark DeRosa and ended up spending five seasons in Cleveland, saving 124 games with a 3.33 ERA and 251 strikeouts in 268 innings. However, his velocity was down this season and he served up too many homers to go along with what has always been shaky control.

He’d have been in line for a raise on this year’s $7.3 million salary and it would have been tough for the Indians to justify that type of money for a 60-inning reliever who’s not even elite. Perez will surely draw plenty of interest as a free agent, but may have to compete for a closer gig or maybe even settle for a setup role.

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Indians undecided on whether Chris Perez will be postseason closer

Indians manager Terry Francona said he's undecided on who he will use in the postseason as his closer.

Chris Perez was pulled from the role last week and seems unlikely to get the job back during the playoffs. "We're not there yet," said Francona. "We'll see how things go." Matt Albers, Joe Smith and Justin Masterson were used in the ninth inning this past weekend, though they were all in non-save situations. Masterson would be an intriguing option, though it's possible he could eventually go back into the rotation. "Some of it probably depends on how stretched out he gets," Francona said of Masterson. "He's a good pitcher, so I'm not as worried about what his role going forward is. I just like the idea that he's a really good pitcher and we plan to use him."

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Chris Perez ends media silence, thrilled for Indians

MINNEAPOLIS -- When Chris Perez went silent, he vowed to maintain his media silence for the entirety of the season. On Sunday, while the Indians celebrated the clinching of the top American League Wild Card spot, the deposed closer approached a group of reporters.

"I'll talk now," Perez said.

Perez covered a wide range of topics, ranging from his troubles on the mound and off the field to being stripped of his ninth-inning duties earlier this weekend. What the pitcher wanted to emphasize, though, was how happy he is to be heading to the playoffs with Cleveland.

After enduring four consecutive losing seasons with the Indians, Perez was savoring the champagne.

"You can't put this feeling into words," Perez said. "It's been a magical year."

With their 5-1 win over the Twins at Target Field, the Indians have earned the right to host Wednesday's Wild Card Game at Progressive Field, with first pitch scheduled for 8:07 p.m. ET. The Tribe ended the season on a 10-game winning streak, picked up 15 victories in their past 17 games, won 21 games in September and finished the campaign with 92 wins overall.

Cleveland has accomplished all of this without the same one-two punch that existed in the eighth and ninth innings in the past few seasons. Setup man Vinnie Pestano's struggles in the first half cost him his role, and the recent woes of Perez cost him his job as well.

Following Thursday's 6-5 win in Minnesota, after giving up four runs in the ninth inning, Perez stopped by the office of manager Terry Francona.

"I'm here to help the team," Perez said. "I went into Tito's office the other night and said, 'I'm not going to cost this team a playoff spot. You need to make a change right now. You've got four or five guys who are throwing the [heck] out of the ball. I don't have an ego. Make the change.' And he did.

"Fans asked me at the start of the year about what my goals are. I told them I'd take 20 saves if we could make the playoffs. We made the playoffs and I've got 25 saves."

Francona finished the season with a closer-by-committee, but a save situation did not present itself in the final three games.

In 54 appearances this season, which was his fourth as the club's closer, Perez posted a career-high 4.33 ERA with 25 saves in 30 opportunities. He dealt with a right shoulder injury in Spring Training and again in late May, when he was shelved for roughly one month. Upon returning from the disabled list, Perez posted a 0.53 ERA with nine straight saves through the end of July.

Perez also began his media blackout when rejoining the team in Baltimore during the June 24-27 series. The pitcher said he went silent due to some of the things that were written after he faced a misdemeanor drug charge in early June.

"A lot of stuff has happened to me this year," Perez said. "I told my wife I wouldn't talk until the end of the year, good or bad. ... There were some times this year that stuff was written that wasn't accurate. Or, somebody was making assumptions. I would have liked to talk to set the record straight, but I made a decision and stuck by it. It was time to just focus on baseball."

As for his struggles over the season's final two months -- Perez posted a 7.52 ERA with seven home runs allowed in 20 1/3 innings, dating back to Aug. 1 -- the pitcher said he simply has some mechanical adjustments to sort out. He threw off the mound at Target Field on Sunday to work on the issues.

"Physically, I'm good," Perez said. "It's just a little mechanical adjustment I need to make. ... I've had a rough couple of months, but you can't pick when it's going to happen. This game can humble you fast. I still feel I can contribute to this team. I know I'm going to. It's terrible when it happens late in the year and you're in it.

"I haven't given up. I don't know if [I'll pitch] in the fifth inning or the seventh inning, whatever, but I'm going to help the team. At this time of year, especially when you're in it, you toss your ego aside."

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Indians sticking with Chris Perez as closer

Chris Perez has been terrible since August 1, posting a 5.95 ERA in 20 innings while allowing opponents to hit .321 with six homers and a 1.006 OPS. That includes serving up two homers and blowing a save in his most recent appearance Tuesday, but the Indians are sticking with Perez as closer as they near the playoffs.

Here’s what manager Terry Francona told Dennis Manoloff of the Cleveland Plain Dealer when asked about Perez’s status:

Can you imagine if, every time somebody gave up a homer, we went to somebody else? If we just automatically went to somebody else, we wouldn’t have a team. I wouldn’t want to play for that guy. If there’s ever a situation where I think we can do better, I will certainly do that. But you can’t just be reactionary as a manager or you’ll have turmoil in that clubhouse. If you react to one game or an inning, you can upset a lot of what’s so good in there.

Which is fine and reasonable, except no one was asking about Perez’s status because he had one bad game or served up one homer, they were asking because he’s been awful for two months now leading directly into the playoffs.

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Chris Perez blows fifth save of season

Chris Perez blew his fifth save of the season but escaped with a no-decision in Tuesday's win over the White Sox.

Perez allowed a game-tying homer to Dayan Viciedo to lead off the ninth before Alejandro De Aza put the Pale Hose up with another blast with two outs. After Alexei Ramirez singled, Perez was then pulled. Jason Giambi then bailed Perez out with a walk-off shot in the bottom of the frame. Indians manager Terry Francona isn't interested in changing roles at this point, so Perez will get the ball again for the next save chance.

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Chris Perez, Indians survive shaky 9th inning

CLEVELAND — Ubaldo Jimenez struck out 10 in seven innings and Asdrubal Cabrera, Yan Gomes and Carlos Santana each hit solo homers, leading the Cleveland Indians to a 4-3 win against the Kansas City Royals on Monday night in a matchup between two teams in the thick of the AL wild card chase.

The Indians, who won despite having only five hits, stayed even with Baltimore, 1½ games back of Tampa Bay for the second wild card spot. The Royals dropped to four games behind the Rays.

Jimenez (11-9) allowed one unearned run and didn’t walk a batter. The right-hander left with a 4-1 lead after throwing 99 pitches, but Alex Gordon hit a two-run homer off Cody Allen in the eighth.

Chris Perez survived a shaky ninth for his 23rd save, retiring Gordon on a fly ball with the bases loaded to end the game. The Indians have won six of their past eight.

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Indians expected to shop Chris Perez

The Cleveland Indians are expected to shop closer Chris Perez during the offseason, reports Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The closer entered Friday with a 3.59 ERA, recording 22 saves in 25 chances. Perez has served as the team's closer since 2010, compiling 120 saves over the past four seasons.

Perez is eligible for aribitration after the 2013 season. Cleveland paid the closer $7.3 million this year, and Pluto estimates that Perez will earn close to $9 million next year.

The Indians reportedly tested Perez's trade market last season, but did not find strong enough value to move the closer.

His value is unlikely to increase despite a solid campaign. Perez has battled off the field issues, including a misdemeanor conviction for marijuana possession. He has also seen his average fastball velocity drop to 92.6 mph, his lowest since joining Cleveland.

Cody Allen is a strong candidate to close next season if Perez is moved, according to Pluto. Allen has a 2.34 ERA over 64 appearances, racking up 77 strikeouts.

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Chris Perez pleads no contest

ROCKY RIVER, Ohio -- Cleveland Indians two-time All-Star closer Chris Perez pleaded no contest and was convicted Tuesday of misdemeanor drug abuse for marijuana shipped to his home in the family dog's name.

Perez withdrew his not guilty plea in Rocky River Municipal Court outside Cleveland and was found guilty and fined $250. He also was placed on probation for one year and was ordered to speak to youngsters about drugs.

"You're highly regarded; kids look up to you," Judge Brian Hagan said. "But you made a big mistake. I hope that through your efforts you can deter someone else from making that same mistake."

Postal inspectors tipped off police about suspicious packages mailed to the Perez home. They say Perez's wife, Melanie, accepted two packages with about a third of a pound of marijuana.

The related criminal case against her is pending. If she passes a drug test, she will face a $50 fine and will not be required to serve probation, said prosecutor Michael O'Shea.

Authorities say Melanie Perez, whose maiden name is Baum, told the undercover officer delivering the packages that they were intended for her dog, named Brody. The package was addressed to Brody Baum.

According to investigators, Perez told drug agents with a search warrant that he had pot for personal use and pointed out two jars. Asked about any drugs or weapons by officers who went to the Perez home, Perez "volunteered to direct the officers to the location of it," an investigative report said.

Under the drug agreement between Major League Baseball and its players' association, marijuana offenses generally result with the player undergoing a treatment program rather than discipline.

Perez is participating in the treatment program and is subject to regular drug tests, defense attorney Terry Gilbert told The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer.
"For all intents and purposes, his life is on a good track," Gilbert said.

The 28-year-old Perez (5-2) has 21 saves on the season in 25 opportunities with a 3.15 ERA.

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Chris Perez fires scoreless ninth for 21st save

Chris Perez threw a scoreless ninth inning to earn his 21st save against the Twins on Sunday.

This was a nice performance to see in light of Perez' struggles earlier this month. Entering the game, the veteran closer had posted a 6.30 ERA and 1.40 WHIP over 10 August innings. Despite the occasional rocky outing, Perez has no job-security issues and owns a 3.22 ERA and 1.21 WHIP over 44 games. The Indians are 3-1 in Perez' four blown saves this year.

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Chris Perez takes fourth blown save

Chris Perez blew his fourth save Wednesday, but he went on to pick up his fifth win against the Twins.

The Indians are 3-1 when Perez blows saves this year, with Perez picking up two of those wins. In this one, he gave up a game-tying solo homer to Joe Mauer in the bottom of the 10th, but he stayed in and pitched a scoreless 11th before the Indians scored in the top of the 12th. Joe Smith took over in the bottom of the 12th and pitched a scoreless inning for his second save.

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Chris Perez throws scoreless ninth, earns 19th save

Chris Perez threw a scoreless ninth inning to earn his 19th save against the Twins on Tuesday.

Perez allowed a double to Oswaldo Arcia but escaped without further incident. He's now thrown three scoreless innings and picked up two saves since his meltdown against the Tigers last week. Despite the occasion hiccups, he remains a solid option for saves.

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Chris Perez fires a perfect ninth for 18th save

Chris Perez fired a perfect ninth inning on Sunday against the Angels to earn his 18th save of the season.
He also struck out his 33rd batter (over 37 2/3 innings). Perez has only given up runs in three different appearances since coming off the DL in late June, but he's probably still washing the taste of Monday's game (four runs without retiring a batter against the Tigers) from his mouth. Perez is 18-for-21 in save conversions and owns a 3.35 ERA and 1.22 WHIP.

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Chris Perez pitched a perfect ninth inning against the Royals

Chris Perez pitched a perfect ninth inning against the Royals on Saturday, preserving a two-run lead and earning his 12th save of the season. Perez needed just 12 pitches to dispatch of the three Royals hitters he faced, including a strikeout of Alcides Escobar to end the night.

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Indians pitcher Chris Perez is due back in court Sept. 3

ROCKY RIVER, Ohio -- Indians pitcher Chris Perez and his wife Melanie, both facing misdemeanor drug charges, appeared in Rocky River Municipal Court this morning for a pre-trial conference.

The couple came into the courthouse, but did not enter the courtroom, where their lawyers discussed the exchange of evidence with Rocky River Prosecutor Michael O'Shea.

They are to appear again Sept. 3.

The Perezes arrived at the courthouse before 8:30 a.m. and were whisked away by attorney Gordon Friedman, who represents Melanie Perez, after the couple was confronted by media.

The Perezes sought refuge in the waiting area of the courthouse probation department. At one point, they came out into the building lobby where they huddled with Friedman and Chris Perez's attorney Terry Gilbert.

Perez declined to speak with reporters.

At about 9:30 a.m., Gilbert and Friedman were before Judge Brian Hagan, asking for a continuance.

Perez pitched an inning of scoreless relief late Monday night during a rainy Indians loss to the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field.

The Perezes pleaded not guilty last month to drug abuse, a fourth-degree misdemeanor, after an undercover police officer dressed as a mailman delivered to their home two packages that authorities say contained marijuana.

The Priority Mail packages, addressed to the Perez family dog and mailed from Los Angeles, were intercepted at the Rocky River Post Office after a supervisor detected a skunky smell coming from them, according to a postal service report on the incident.

Postal inspectors opened the packages after obtaining a search warrant. The report states the inspectors found two bags of marijuana totaling more than 9 ounces,  with the bags slathered in petroleum jelly and stuffed in plastic containers.

After resealing the packages, the undercover police officer delivered them to the Perez home, according to the report. The officer was met by Melanie Perez, who confirmed that Brody Baum lived there, the report states.

Brody is the name of the Perez family dog. Baum is Melanie Perez's maiden name. She told the officer the packages were for the dog and to leave them on the porch, according to the report.

Melanie Perez and her husband, who was on the disabled list at the time, then went out to lunch and a movie, leaving their two children with a babysitter, according to the report. After returning home,  the couple found postal inspectors and detectives from the Westshore Enforcement Bureau and Rocky River police searching their home.

A Rocky River police detective wrote in a report that Chis Perez told an officer that marijuana and paraphernalia found in the basement belonged to him.

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Chris Perez picks up 8th save, Indians beat Royals

Chris Perez worked a scoreless ninth inning to earn his eighth save, and the Indians edged the Royals 6-5 on Tuesday.

It wasn't all roses on Tuesday -- a Jarrod Dyson walk and an Alex Gordon single made things interesting, but Perez worked out of the jam without incident. He's now made three scoreless appearances since returning from the disabled list, suggesting his right shoulder is feeling much better than it did a month ago.

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Chris Perez activated from DL

BALTIMORE -- Chris Perez has been activated from the 15-day disabled list by the Cleveland Indians and will immediately resume his role as closer.

Perez was sidelined May 27 with right shoulder soreness. While he was out, he and his wife were charged with misdemeanor drug possession after marijuana was mailed to their Ohio home in their dog's name.

Both have pleaded not guilty. Perez declined to speak with reporters Thursday at Camden Yards.

Indians manager Terry Francona says Perez's return will strengthen the bullpen by allowing other relievers to return to their previous roles.

The Indians also traded infielder John McDonald, designated for assignment Wednesday, to the Philadelphia Phillies for cash or a player to be named.

To make room for Perez on the 25-man roster, left-hander T.J. House was optioned to Triple-A Columbus.

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Indians will get Chris Perez back Thursday

Indians closer Chris Perez will be activated from the disabled list Thursday, manager Terry Francona told reporters in Baltimore Wednesday (via

Perez has been on the DL since May 27 due to a right shoulder strain and also suffered a setback during his rehab. He was set to return this past Friday, but an awful outing during his minor-league rehab assignment caused the Indians to delay his return.

Perez threw a scoreless inning for Class A Mahoning Valley on Tuesday, however, and the Indians seemed pleased enough to bring him back.

"He'll join us Thursday. Chris felt good after Tuesday's appearance," said Francona (via "The reports were good, as well."

Francona also told reporters that Perez will immediately resume closing duties.

He is 6 for 8 in save chances with a 4.32 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and 18 strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings this season. The two-time All-Star had a 0.64 ERA before his last three outings, possibly when he started dealing with the shoulder injury.

Vinnie Pestano was 4 for 4 in save chances with a 3.27 ERA since Perez went on the DL and he'll now return to setup duties.

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Chris Perez to make another rehab appearance Tuesday

Indians’ closer Chris Perez was hoping to be activated from the disabled list following a successful bullpen session yesterday, but he’s not ready yet.

Jordan Bastian of reports that Perez is scheduled to make another rehab appearance tomorrow with Class A Mahoning Valley. Perez, out since May 26 with right shoulder soreness, yielded five runs on five hits (including three homers) in one inning during his last rehab appearance last Tuesday. While his shoulder feels fine, the Indians want to see how he fares tomorrow before bringing him back.

Perez, 27, had a 4.32 ERA and 18/10 K/BB ratio in 16 2/3 innings prior to landing on the disabled list. He is 6-for-8 in save chances this season.

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Chris Perez thinks he's ready for activation

Chris Perez (shoulder) believes he's ready to be activated from the disabled list following a successful simulated game Sunday.
Perez said after the throwing session that it's the best he's felt in a long time. The Indians haven't announced anything yet, but it sounds like they should get their closer back this week.

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Chris Perez will not be activated this Friday

Indians closer Chris Perez was supposed to return from the disabled list on Friday. But it won’t happen.

According to Nick Camino of Cleveland’s WTAM 1100, the Indians are pulling back from their original plan for Perez because he got hammered in a rehab appearance on Tuesday night at Double-A Akron and they’re worried that his mechanics are off.

Perez will play long toss on Wednesday evening and is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Friday.

The right-hander has been sidelined since May 26 because of discomfort in his throwing shoulder. Vinnie Pestano will continue to fill in at closer for the Indians, who are currently four games back of the Tigers in the American League Central standings.

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Chris Perez will not be activated this Friday

Indians closer Chris Perez was supposed to return from the disabled list on Friday. But it won’t happen.

According to Nick Camino of Cleveland’s WTAM 1100, the Indians are pulling back from their original plan for Perez because he got hammered in a rehab appearance on Tuesday night at Double-A Akron and they’re worried that his mechanics are off.

Perez will play long toss on Wednesday evening and is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Friday.

The right-hander has been sidelined since May 26 because of discomfort in his throwing shoulder. Vinnie Pestano will continue to fill in at closer for the Indians, who are currently four games back of the Tigers in the American League Central standings.

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Chris Perez expected to return Friday

Cleveland Indians RP Chris Perez (shoulder) will make another rehab outing Tuesday, June 18, and is expected to be activated from the disabled list Friday, June 21.

Fantasy Tip: Perez should immediately return to closing duties for the Tribe, moving Vinnie Pestano back to the eighth-inning setup role. There's no need to hold onto Pestano in mixed formats when Perez returns.

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Chris Perez pleads not guilty to marijuana possession charges

Injured Indians closer Chris Perez and his wife pleaded not guilty Monday to misdemeanor marijuana possession charges. The pleas were faxed into Rocky River Municipal Court by their attorneys and included a request to drop the requirement that the Perezes appear in person for their June 19 arraignment, according to the Associated Press.

The charges stem from an investigation last week that revealed two packages containing about 1/3 of a pound of marijuana were delivered to the Perez household in the name of their dog. Seriously. Here's the excerpt from the AP:

Authorities say Melanie Perez, whose maiden name is Baum, told the undercover officer delivering the packages that they were intended for her dog, named Brody. The package was addressed to Brody Baum.

Chris Perez was reportedly cooperative with the authorities, as he "volunteered to direct the officers to the location" of the drugs when asked.

Reports indicate charges of this nature are tantamount to a traffic ticket, meaning Perez faces little more than a fine, at worst. Also, under the MLB drug agreement, players face treatment programs instead of suspensions for this type of offense.

Perez, 27, has successfully closed six of his eight save chances this season and sports a 4.32 ERA. The two-time All-Star had a 0.64 ERA before his last three outings, however, during which time he may have been dealing with pain. He's currently on the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis.

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Chris Perez charged with possession

CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians two-time All-Star closer Chris Perez, who is charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession, told drug agents he had pot in his home for personal use and pointed out two jars, according to investigative reports.

Asked about any drugs or weapons by officers who went to the Perez home on Tuesday with a search warrant, "Perez responded that he had 'personal use' marijuana in the basement and volunteered to direct the officers to the location of it," an investigative report said.

"He pointed out a number of items of paraphernalia along with two separate 'mason' jars containing a green vegetable matter suspected of being marijuana," it said.

Police, tipped off to suspicious packages by postal inspectors, arranged a delivery Tuesday under surveillance, and Perez's wife, Melanie, accepted two packages, the reports said.

A later house search under warrant began while Perez and his wife were out for lunch and a movie, the reports said. A babysitter was caring for two children.

Police say Perez returned home and mentioned personal marijuana use to the search team of officers.

Perez, 27, and his 29-year-old wife were charged in a complaint filed Friday with misdemeanor drug possession in the shipment of just over one-third of a pound of marijuana mailed to their home. They haven't commented, but their attorney said they would plead not guilty.

"We ask that people not rush to judgment. We are confident of a favorable outcome," attorney Terry Gilbert said in a statement on their behalf.

Perez and his wife were released on personal bond.

"Clearly we take these matters seriously and are disappointed whenever there is any negative attention brought to the Indians organization or one of our players," general manager Chris Antonetti said in a statement. "We understand and respect that there is an ongoing legal process that we will allow to evolve."

Under the drug agreement between Major League Baseball and its players' association, marijuana offenses generally result with the player undergoing a treatment program rather than discipline.

Melanie Perez, whose maiden name is Baum, told the undercover officer delivering the packages that they were intended for her dog, named Brody. The package was addressed to Brody Baum, according to postal inspectors.

Questioned later when investigators returned to the house, Melanie Perez told them that she doesn't smoke marijuana but that her husband "had drug paraphernalia" in the house.

Asked whether the marijuana shipment was intended for her husband, Melanie Perez responded, "What did Chris say?" according to the investigative report.

The packages smelled of marijuana and had a Los Angeles return address with a name that that wasn't associated with that location, postal inspectors said.

Dan Chaplin, a Cleveland defense attorney not connected with the case, compared the charge to a traffic ticket and said a conviction likely would be punished with a fine.

Perez has six saves this season but is on the disabled list with an injured right shoulder. The right-hander started throwing again this week.

Perez, an often-polarizing figure, and Cleveland fans have gotten on each other's nerves over the past couple of years. He recently deactivated his Twitter account after criticism from fans following a couple of bad outings.

In previous seasons, Perez has lashed out at fans for not coming to games, and at owners for not spending money on free agents.

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Chris Perez could be facing additional drug testing

DETROIT -- Indians' closer Chris Perez played catch for just the second day since he was placed on the disabled list, but he could be facing additional drug testing by Major League Baseball after police found what is believed to be marijuana in a search of his Rocky River residence on Tuesday.

Perez, the Indians' two-time All-Star closer, played catch at 90 feet Thursday at Progressive Field. It was just the second time he's thrown a baseball since going on the disabled list May 27 with a strained muscle in the rotator cuff of his right shoulder.

Rocky River police, U.S postal inspectors and the West Shore Enforcement Bureau found "a controlled delivery of drugs" to the home that Perez and his wife, Melanie, are renting. Rocky River police said later the substance was believed to be marijuana and it has been sent to a crime lab to be tested.

Perez and his wife were not arrested and no charges were filed.

As part of MLB's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, marijuana is listed as a drug of abuse. Players are not tested for such drugs unless there is reasonable cause by either the team or the players association that the player has in the last 12 months "engaged in the use, possession, sale or distribution of a drug of abuse."

If the program's treatment board receives a "reasonable cause notification" from either side about a player, and the board agrees with it, the player would be tested no later than 48 hours after the board was notified. If the player tests positive, a treatment program would be provided which could include further testing.
A player who failed to comply with the program or continued to fail tests could be fined up to $35,000 for each violation. The player would not be subject to a suspension.

According to sources, the Indians are unlikely to pursue such a course of action against Perez even if charges are filed against him. In MLB's fight against PEDS, marijuana is at the bottom of its hit list.

Perez and all other MLB players are subject to the strictest drug testing in professional spots in North America. Starting on the first day of spring training, they are tested for performance enhancing drugs, stimulants and HGH. Perez has never had a positive test.

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Chris Perez under investigation

CLEVELAND -- Drug agents are investigating a suspected marijuana shipment mailed to the suburban home of Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez, authorities said Wednesday.

Rocky River Police Chief Kelly Stillman said city officers, a regional narcotics unit and postal inspectors were involved in Tuesday's daylong operation investigating a delivery to Perez's home in the lakeside Cleveland suburb.

No charges have been filed and the matter remains under investigation. A message seeking comment was left for Perez's attorney.

At a news conference Wednesday, the police chief said the operation likely originated with a package that appeared suspicious to postal employees. "They took it from there," he said.

In a brief written update Wednesday afternoon, the police chief confirmed the shipment was suspected to be marijuana, but said that the state crime laboratory will have to confirm that.

"Depending on what it was and how much it was, charges will be filed accordingly," Stillman said.

Officers with a search warrant took evidence from the Perez house, according to the chief, but the seized items weren't specified.

Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said in a statement that the team had talked with Perez and was "gathering additional information."

Manager Terry Francona, addressing the situation before the Indians' Wednesday afternoon game against the Yankees in New York, said he had reached out to Perez to check on him.

"I spoke to him this morning, called him, just wanted to make sure he was OK," he said. "Out of respect to everybody involved, that's really all I can say."

The Indians' often-polarizing closer has six saves this season, but is on the disabled list with an injured right shoulder. He and Cleveland fans have gotten on each other's nerves the last couple years, and he recently deactivated his Twitter account after hearing it from fans following a couple of bad outings.
In previous seasons, Perez has criticized fans for not coming to games, and ownership for not spending money on free agents.

The right-hander was supposed to start throwing again this week. Francona said he wasn't sure if the investigation would affect Perez' injury rehabilitation.

"I don't know. I honestly don't know," he said. "Let's not only go one day at a time, let's go one hour at a time here."

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Chris Perez Making Progress

Perez (shoulder) will resume throwing "in about three days," according to manager Terry Francona, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. "Perez got a real good examination [Sunday]," Francona said. "We'll give him a few more days without throwing, but again it was a real good examination."

Though Francona didn't elaborate on what exactly made the examination encouraging, it's positive news regardless. The right-hander was shut down early this week, and it sounds like it did wonders for Perez's shoulder pain. Barring setback, Perez should begin to ramp things up in the near future.

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Chris Perez to be re-evaluated

Cleveland Indians RP Chris Perez (shoulder) will be re-evaluated Sunday, June 2, before the team plans the next step in his rehab.

Fantasy Tip: Vinnie Pestano will continue to hold down the closer's role in Perez's absence. Pestano should be owned in all formats while Perez is out. The fact that Pestano has regained some of his velocity is a good sign for those that are riding him out for save opps in the short term.

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Chris Perez diagnosed with mild rotator cuff tendinitis

Chris Perez underwent an MRI exam after being placed on the disabled list with a shoulder injury and the Indians announced that he’s been diagnosed with mild rotator cuff tendinitis.

Jordan Bastian of reports that the plan is for Perez to be totally shut down for 5-7 days, at which point he’ll try to resume throwing.

In the meantime Vinnie Pestano will take over as the Indians’ closer and considering how well he’s pitched in a setup role for multiple seasons could conceivably have a pretty tight grip on ninth-inning duties whenever Perez is ready to return.

And Perez won’t even be able to kill time on Twitter while he’s sidelined, because he deleted his account last week after getting nasty comments following back-to-back poor appearances.

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Chris Perez deleted his Twitter account because of ugly replies after blown saves

CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona is not sure how Twitter works and he does not care to find out. Francona was also fine with closer Chris Perez's explanation for deleting the social-media account he used to interact with fans the past few years.

Given Perez's history of actions and outspokenness, the disappearance of his Twitter account (previously @ChrisPerez54) following a pair of rough outings swirled into an unlikely news story. While it turned into a one-day distraction for this red-hot Indians club, Francona said Perez's intention was to turn the spotlight toward the team.

"I don't know about it being a good idea or a bad idea," Francona said of Perez deleting his account. "I understand his reasoning was to focus more on what we're doing. So I thought his thought process was really good. I don't think I've looked at a Twitter in my life. I don't even know if I know how. But I like his reasoning, so I'm cool with it."

Perez chose to issue a written statement rather than address the situation with reporters.

"The decision to deactivate my Twitter account," Perez wrote, "was a personal choice I made in order to maintain the greater focus on the success of the team this season and our shared goals moving forward. We have an extremely positive and supportive group of players, coaches and staff members in our clubhouse, and I want to participate in activities and routines that contribute positively to the culture we're building here.

"Out of respect for my teammates, I want to minimize any potential off-the-field distractions, so this is the only time I will comment on this topic. Thank you for your understanding."

Last season, Perez created a stir in the first half, when he made critical comments about the Indians' low attendance totals. The two-time All-Star's comments upset a segment of the fan base, but he received a standing ovation in his first appearance in Cleveland after airing his thoughts.

Perez's willingness to speak his mind has made him a polarizing figure for the Tribe's fan base. The closer was booed as he walked off the field Saturday, when he blew a save after giving up two home runs in the ninth inning of an eventual 5-4 win against Seattle. Perez also gave up a go-ahead home run in the ninth inning of Monday's 10-8, 10-inning victory against the Mariners.

It marked the first time in Perez's career that he allowed home runs in consecutive appearances, but that did not stop some of his Twitter followers from attacking him on the social-media platform. It is possible that Perez, who is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA and six saves this season, deactivated his account in part due to the harsh criticism he was receiving.

Francona said he has no issues with how Perez has conducted himself this season.

"He's been terrific, I would say, and more," Francona said. "His level of communication with me has been fantastic."

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Chris Perez serves up third homer in two outings

CLEVELAND -- Speaking after Monday's thrilling 10-8 walk-off win in extra innings, Indians closer Chris Perez sounded like a guy who thinks something might be wrong.

In the ninth inning of a tie game, Perez threw an 0-1 fastball to leadoff hitter Endy Chavez, who launched it into the right-field seats to give Seattle a 7-6 lead. Chavez's homer came two days after Perez served up solo shots to Raul Ibanez and Justin Smoak that tied Saturday's game in the ninth.

"I don't know if I've mentally changed my mechanics with that little shoulder hiccup a week or two ago," said Perez, who felt shoulder stiffness while warming up on May 12. "I'm not one really to look at a lot of video, but I definitely will get in there tomorrow to see if I can pick up anything. Maybe I'm not closing off enough when I come set -- something."

Prior to the four-game series with Seattle -- which the Indians swept -- Perez had only given up one home run, a long ball to Jose Bautista that came back on April 3 in Toronto. The four solo shots account for all the earned runs that Perez -- who insists he's healthy -- has surrendered in his 15 innings.

"If I can walk the leadoff hitter, we'd be all right," Perez said. "Sometimes, you have to tip your cap. Again, today, I didn't think it was a terrible pitch. He just put a good swing on it and it went. It's just one of those things.

"It's a slump -- a little slump, mini-slump. It happens once or twice a year and you just have to keep grinding, keep trying to make good pitches and get through it."

Perez is 6-for-8 in save opportunities. He has a 2-0 record and 1.80 ERA.

Indians manager Terry Francona isn't overly concerned about his closer -- it'll take more than three home runs in two outings for that to happen.

"That's just part of it. That's the nature of the game," Francona said. "When you're in that role and you give up a home run, it's glaring. That's part of pitching at the end of games. The good part is he feels good and he's done this before. He's going to be a big part of what we do."

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Chris Perez felt shoulder stiffness while warming up

DETROIT -- Indians closer Chris Perez had both his and the team's long-term goals in mind when he said he couldn't pitch in Sunday's win over the Tigers.

While warming up in the bullpen in the top of the ninth, Perez felt stiffness in his right shoulder and alerted bullpen coach Kevin Cash. Indians manager Terry Francona went with the combination of left-hander Rich Hill and right-hander Cody Allen in the 10th inning to claim a 4-3 victory.

"Missing a day here is better than missing two months," Perez said after the game. "I might've pitched in the past. ... I always want to pitch. I always want to be up. But I felt a little better today knowing we have good arms down there."

Perez said he expected to be available for Monday's doubleheader with the Yankees.

Perez logged 22 pitches in a dramatic ninth-inning save in Saturday's 7-6 win over Detroit, giving the two-time All-Star six saves on the season. Through 13 appearances, the right-hander has gone 1-0 with a 0.69 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 13 innings.

During Spring Training, Perez missed a significant amount of time due a right shoulder injury, but he said this latest incident is unrelated to that.
"It's definitely different," Perez said. "It's a different part of the shoulder."

Prior to Sunday's game, Francona met with Perez and asked the closer to be honest with how he felt during the game, given that the closer worked an intense save the previous night. The manager said he appreciated that Perez was honest with him.

"He was really good about it," Francona said. "After he got up and threw, he said, 'You know what? [the shoulder is stiff].' I thought he used very good judgment. He was feeling it. I just don't want it to lead to an injury."

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Chris Perez reflects on Wednesday controversy

CLEVELAND -- Mike Aviles passed his phone around to a gathering of teammates in the clubhouse on Thursday morning.

One by one, Indians players read the latest article discussing Wednesday night's controversial call. It may take some time before talk about the play dies down.
With two outs in the top of the ninth inning, Oakland's Adam Rosales hit a Chris Perez pitch toward the top of the 19-foot wall in left-center field. The ball appeared to strike the railing above the padded fence. Initially, umpires ruled it a double, but they reviewed the call as Rosales waited at second base.

After the review, they upheld the original ruling, and A's manager Bob Melvin argued his way to an ejection before the Indians eventually hung on for a 4-3 victory.

"That's definitely one of the weirdest saves I've had," Perez said. "The most memorable, for sure. To end the game like that -- I had two outs and nobody on and then the home run, err, double, and then a hit-by-pitch and a walk. It shouldn't have been as intense as it was."

On Thursday, Melvin detailed his thinking during the umpires' review.

"It actually worried me when it took so long," he said. "Even the group in the suite next to us, you could see them look at the replay one time, and they all turned around and said, 'It's a home run.' And when I went to look at it in the video room, their announcers were saying, 'It's a home run, let's go. What's taking so long?' So that was my experience with it."

As Indians players sat around a table on Thursday morning, playing cards and completing crossword puzzles, they discussed how they would approach the situation if they were forced to replay Wednesday's contest from the point of the disputed call.

Melvin doubted that would take place.

"I don't know if there's a precedent for that," Melvin said. "I do know the rule stands that when I ask them to go in and look at replay and they do, and when they come out with a decision, that's supposed to be the end of it. And that's why I was thrown out, for continuing it. Other than that, I don't know."

Major League Baseball executive vice president for baseball operations Joe Torre issued the following statement Thursday regarding the instant replay review: "By rule, the decision to reverse a call by use of instant replay is at the sole discretion of the crew chief. In the opinion of Angel Hernandez, who was last night's crew chief, there was not clear and convincing evidence to overturn the decision on the field. It was a judgment call, and as such, it stands as final.

"Home and away broadcast feeds are available for all uses of instant replay, and they were available to the crew last night. Given what we saw, we recognize that an improper call was made. Perfection is an impossible standard in any endeavor, but our goal is always to get the calls right. Earlier this morning, we began the process of speaking with the crew to thoroughly review all the circumstances surrounding last night's decision."

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Chris Perez picks up fourth save

Chris Perez nailed down his fourth save of the season with a scoreless inning in Tuesday's win over the Athletics.

Perez allowed a one-out single to Yoenis Cespedes, but Cespedes was gunned out by Yan Gomes while trying to steal second base. Save chances have been few and far between for Perez, but he's had a fine year, posting a 0.82 ERA and 1.00 WHIP.

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Chris Perez has X-rays

Cleveland Indians RP Chris Perez (thumb) said X-rays on his right thumb came back negative, and he'll be good to go Monday, April 29. Perez was hit by a comebacker Sunday, April 28.

Fantasy Tip: It probably wouldn't hurt to grab Vinnie Pestano, if you have the room, in case Perez suffers a setback or reinjures his thu

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Chris Perez is on short list of trade candidates

In his latest blog post, ESPN’s Buster Olney speculates as to a number of young players that could become part of the trade market. Among the names on the list are Philadelphia’s Chase Utley, New York’s John Buck, Chicago’s Matt Garza and Cleveland’s Chris Perez-

“Chris Perez | RHP, Cleveland Indians. He’s making $7.3 million this season, and the Indians were open to trading him during the winter but got little traction. The 27-year-old Perez is off to a good start, and it’s worth remembering that the trade market for relievers appears as if it’s going to be absolutely terrible — an extremely thin group.

Perez does have a lot of experience as a closer for a team looking to fill that spot (St. Louis, for example, knows Perez well, having drafted and developed him). Even if the Indians stay in the AL Central race, they might be open to moving Perez because they have Vinnie Pestano and because Cleveland would seem to be very unlikely to pay Perez the $10 million or so he could get next winter as an arbitration-eligible player.”

This is certainly not the first time we’ve heard rumors about Perez being available for trade. Our own Jon Steiner has advocated a Perez trade for some time, most recently here.

Generally speaking, it is way too early to know which teams will be sellers and which will be buyers at the deadline. If the Indians become buyers, perhaps Garza could be a target for the Indians to consider.

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Chris Perez converts third save

Chris Perez pitched a scoreless ninth inning Monday against the White Sox to convert his third save of the season.

Perez allowed a one-out single to Chris Perez and lucked out when a long Alexei Ramirez drive went about 10 feet foul, but he eventually got Ramirez to foul out and Tyler Flowers to ground out to end it. The bearded reliever blew a save earlier this month when he served up a solo homer to Jose Bautista, but it's the only run he's allowed in seven appearances this season.

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Chris Perez dinged for homer

Cleveland Indians RP Chris Perez nailed down the save in the team's regular season opener Tuesday, April 2, but he wasn't as fortunate Wednesday, April 3. He served up a game-tying solo home run to Toronto Blue Jays OF Jose Bautista to blow his first save of the season.

Fantasy Tip: Perez made just five appearances during the spring due to a strained right shoulder, and he was pitching on consecutive days for the first time since last season. Perez should be fine, and he isn't in any danger of losing his job. However, if you're really nervous, it isn't a bad idea to stash away Vinnie Pestano if you can afford the roster space, especially in rotisserie formats.

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Chris Perez closes door on bad memory

TORONTO -- Closers are trained to have a short memory. Whatever happened last night, last month or last season, turn the page and move on.

Indians closer Chris Perez made an exception on Opening Night.

Perez was summoned from the bullpen with the Tribe holding a 4-1 lead against the Blue Jays on Tuesday night. Opening Day starter Justin Masterson had given Cleveland a solid outing to help set up the save situation. On Opening Day against Toronto one year ago, Perez entered with a 4-1 lead following a gem from Masterson, blew the save and watched the Indians lose in 16 innings.

"I was definitely thinking about it," Perez said. "It was the same exact situation -- except the part of the order. It was 4-1 on Opening Day."

Perez opened the ninth inning on Tuesday by inducing back-to-back flyouts off the bats of Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind. After Toronto catcher J.P. Arencibia connected for a two-out double, Perez struck out Colby Rasmus to seal the win and collect the save.

In last April's Opening Day loss, Perez labored through 31 pitches. He was admittedly over-cautious after dealing with an oblique issue during Spring Training and gave up three runs on three hits with two walks in two-thirds of an inning.

What was the difference this time around?

"I just gave people my best stuff," Perez said. "I felt like last year I was a little tentative, trying to get that first strike, and they came out swinging last year. That kind of put me in a defensive mode. This year, I was able to pour in strike one and I felt good. Last year, I was a little -- not worried -- but questioning that injury.

"I didn't know if I was 100 percent game ready with adrenaline and all that stuff. This year, I knew I was ready. No worries."

Perez's drama-free ninth inning followed perfect innings from setup man Joe Smith and Vinnie Pestano in the seventh and eighth.

"That's what we do," Perez said. "That's how it lines up. Seven, eight, nine. Smitty, Vinnie and me. That's our formula going back to last year."

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Chris Perez locks down first save, Tribe win

Chris Perez pitched a scoreless ninth inning on Tuesday in the Indians 4-1 win over the Blue Jays.
Perez dealt with shoulder issues this spring, so his availability and effectiveness Tuesday were both good signs for owners of the 27-year-old closer. Despite some questions about his place in the organization, the right-hander saved 39 games last season for the Tribe and was given the first opportunity of 2013. He seems to have a decent amount of job security at this point.

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Chris Perez bounces back in spring finale

After allowing four runs in his last outing, Indians closer Chris Perez settled down and got back on track in Saturday's spring training finale against the Reds.

Perez entered the game in the sixth inning and gave up a leadoff single Tanner Rahier. But he retired the next three batters. The right-hander finished spring with a 7.20 ERA and a 1.80 WHIP in five appearances.

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Scoreless inning of work pleases closer Chris Perez and manager Terry Francona

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Chris Perez was in a good mood Tuesday afternoon. He was holding a Gatorade paper cup in his teeth, while catching baseballs dropped by fans from the right-field wall at Goodyear Ballpark.

Perez would catch the balls, autograph them and flip them back to the fans. It went on for about 10 minutes before he opened a door in the right field wall and disappeared. The Indians closer, appearing in his first Cactus League game since Feb. 26, pitched a scoreless seventh inning in a 7-6 loss to Oakland.

It was the latest indication that he'll be ready for the season opener Tuesday in Toronto.

"I felt normal," said Perez. "Now I'm just trying to get up to speed with my location. Velocity wise I felt normal.

"The big test will be going back-to-back during the season. Honestly, I feel better than I did at this time last year."

Perez made only three Cactus League appearances last spring because of a strained left oblique muscle.

"He looked good, really good," said manager Terry Francona. "He said he felt rusty, but it didn't look like it. That was the highlight of the day."

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Chris Perez should be ready for Opening Day

The Indians closer, battling a shoulder strain, should be ready on Opening Day according to manager Terry Francona. Via’s Barry M. Bloom:

Francona said that Perez can pitch every other day beginning Tuesday as Spring Training winds down, and then will throw a light ‘pen session on April 1, the day before the start of the regular season.

As far as him being ready to start the season on the active roster, Francona said:

“I think everything leans toward that as long as there are no setbacks, which I don’t think there will be. I think he’s looking pretty good.”
Perez himself thinks he’s ready as well:

“Great to get out there again. If the season started next week, I'd be ready. What's that? It does start next week? #Ready #BullpenMafia”

In 57.2 innings last year, the right-hander posted a 3.59 ERA with 39 saves in his third season as the team’s closer.

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Chris Perez to throw in minors game Saturday

Chris Perez (shoulder) is scheduled to make an appearance in a minor league game on Saturday afternoon.

Perez has tossed a couple of problem-free bullpen sessions and told reporters earlier this week that his shoulder feels "100 percent." The Indians closer is fully expected to be ready for the start of the regular season.

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Chris Perez says he’s 100%

On March 1, it was revealed Indians closer Chris Perez was shut down for "three to four weeks" with soreness in his pitching shoulder. Perez himself expressed optimism that he'd be back earlier than that and would be ready to go for the start of the season. And it looks like he was right.

Perez told reporters Monday he is "100 percent" and "should be ready for opening day, barring anything unforeseen." (via Paul Hoynes on Twitter)

Assuming Perez is recovered in time to be with his team on opening day, it would mark the second straight season in which Perez suffered a spring injury and then healed quicker than his ballclub expected him to.

Perez, 27, had 39 saves in 43 chances with a 3.59 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 59 strikeouts in 57 2/3 innings last season, making his second straight All-Star Game.

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Chris Perez to throw short session

Cleveland Indians RP Chris Perez (shoulder) is scheduled to throw off a mound on Saturday, March 16.

Fantasy Tip: This would represent progress in the right-hander's throwing program as he works his way back from this strain. He's aiming to be ready by opening day, but he'll be cutting it close, and that's assuming no setbacks. Vinnie Pestano could get a couple of save chances to start the year.

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Closer Chris Perez Injured

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Cleveland All-Star closer Chris Perez hopes to recover from a shoulder injury in time for the Indians' April 2 opener at Toronto.

Perez was diagnosed Friday with a strained muscle in his right shoulder, an injury that could sideline him for a month.

"The way it feels, just moving around, it gets better every day," Perez said Saturday.

Perez pitched an inning Tuesday during a 4-1 loss to Kansas City and felt pain in the shoulder Thursday. The right-hander said the injury is not as serious as the strain he suffered last spring to a muscle on his left side in his first bullpen session on Feb 23.

He made it back for the opener, when he allowed three runs in the ninth against Toronto in a game the Blue Jays won in 16 innings.

"I was more concerned last year," said Perez, a 2011 and 2012 All-Star who saved 39 games in 43 chances last season. "I think that if this was regular season, I could have managed it. But this is spring training. It's early. We're playing this a lot slower than we would if it was July and we were in the middle of the race."

Indians manager Terry Francona didn't want to set a timetable for Perez's return.

"Is it on Opening Day? We'll see," Francona said. "If he's a week late, he's a week late. That's the way it goes."

Perez, who has 98 saves during the last three seasons, is frustrated he had to withdraw from the U.S. team headed to the World Baseball Classic.

"The WBC is important. To this point, it's the biggest honor in my career," he said. "Yeah, it's disappointing, but it would have been a lot worse if I had pitched and then been out for three or four months."

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Phillies, Giants expressed interest in Chris Perez

The San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies expressed interest in Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez this offseason, according to Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Hoynes notes the Phillies were interested in Perez, while the Giants also "kicked the tires." Philadelphia ultimately ended up signing free agent Mike Adams, while San Francisco re-signed Jeremy Affeldt and reacquired Ramon Ramirez.

The Indians were reportedly willing to entertain offers for Perez considering his sizeable salary and outspoken criticism toward the team. Perez is set to make $7.3 million in 2013 and is under team control for two more years.

Perez understands that there are no guarantees as a reliever, even when you're an established major league closer. He told reporters he realizes relievers often don't receive the long-term contracts starting pitchers do. The right-hander termed bullpen arms as "easy commodities to trade," and he tries not to pay attention to the rumors in hopes of retaining his sanity.

Perez has already been dealt once in his career, as he came to Cleveland from the St. Louis Cardinals in the summer of 2009 in exchange for Mark DeRosa.
Since joining the Indians, Perez has compiled 98 saves over the past three seasons. He maintained an ERA of 3.59 last year, and the 27-year-old owns a career mark of 3.23 with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.26 over five seasons in the majors.

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Chris Perez promising to keep quiet

Indians All-Star closer Chris Perez is promising not to run his mouth off the mound anymore.

Perez was embroiled in controversy most of last season, when he knocked Cleveland fans for not supporting the team, criticized ownership for not spending money and irritated some opposing teams with gestures on the field. Perez says he won’t be a distraction this season, and new Indians manager Terry Francona doesn’t expect any problems with the colorful right-hander, who had 39 saves last season.

Perez doesn’t regret much of what he said last year, but says he “should have controlled it better.” Perez says most of what he said was driven by wanting to win, and he’s certain the Indians will do more of that this season after spending $117 million on free agents.

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Chris Perez not a fan of Manny Acta

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Chris Perez, the Cleveland Indians' perpetually outspoken closer, made some pointed observations about former manager Manny Acta at the end of last season in October. It's now been four months since the Indians fired Acta and replaced him with Terry Francona, but the passage of time hasn't dulled Perez's ardor on the subject.

Perez said he wondered about his future with the organization after his name had appeared in numerous trade rumors. But his mind was eased after the Indians relieved Acta of his duties with six games to go, hired Francona as a replacement and spent $117 million in guaranteed money on free agents this offseason.

"I was wondering where we were going,'' Perez said. "Stuff wasn't getting better with Manny as our manager. I didn't see the light at the end of the tunnel. He's very stubborn and he doesn't really use input well, so I was getting frustrated. I thought, 'If we have the same guy next year, it's going to be the same stuff.'

"When Francona came on board, that kind of changed the mindset. To me, that signaled that I have a good chance of staying here. Then he came and sat down with me in Tampa [Fla.] and that cemented it even more. With the moves we made, we're not rebuilding. We're here to win this year.''

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Chris Perez honored to pitch for Team USA in World Baseball Classic

The call came, but Chris Perez missed it.

The Holmes Beach native, IMG alum and Cleveland Indians closer was busy moving the day his cell phone rang and Joe Torre was waiting on the other end.

"I hope it's good news," Perez remembered thinking.

The owner of four World Series rings, Torre, as it turns out, isn't above leaving a voice mail.

And once Perez returned it, his fears melted away.

Torre, who will manage Team USA during next month's World Baseball Classic, was calling Perez to tell him he was on the team.

And unlike a large of swath of superstars, Perez didn't turn down the invitation.

He was the one he wanted it to begin with, as soon as the player's association began taking a preliminary head count toward the end of last season.

"I was like, 'Yes, I'd love to play,'" Perez said. "It's a great game, and we invented it."

It's understandable why some of the sport's biggest names have waved away Torre's request to play for Team USA, which will come together in early March at the Colorado Rockies' spring training complex in Salt River Flats, Ariz.

Spring training is all about easing into a routine; the World Baseball Classic is all about playing to win in mid-March. And while teams aren't permitted to prevent a player from participating in the WBC, it isn't always the easiest thing to go against the guy who signs your paycheck, especially when said paycheck could easily put a few dozen twins through college.

Perez, however, never thought twice about playing.

He wants to represent

his country, which hasn't made it past the semifinals during the first two WBCs.

"It's kind of a black eye," Perez said of Team USA's previous performances. "Also, it's an honor to be selected. It's what you've worked your whole life for. When I played in college, I wanted to be one of the best in college. When I played in the minors, I wanted to be one of the best in the minors. And now that I'm a major leaguer, I want to be one of the best in the majors. And this kind of validates that."

In preparation for playing competitive games rather than easy-as-Sunday-morning Cactus League contests, Perez began throwing a couple of weeks early in attempt to round into the guy who has produced 98 saves and two All-Star team selections during the past three years.

"I wanted to make sure I'm closer to midseason form, and I feel stronger because of it," Perez said. "I'm not concerned about wearing down later in the year. I hope I don't. But right now, I'm feeling fine."

He's ready to wear USA across his chest, ready to play for a manager likely to land in the hall of fame and ready to help the United States take back ownership of the game we proudly call our own.

It's big-time baseball in the middle of spring.

Perez is ecstatic to be a part of it.

Given how some of baseball's other guys have reacted to the WBC, that's good news, too.

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Chris Perez avoids arbitration with Indians for $7.3 million

Chris Perez has avoided arbitration in his second-to-last season of eligibility, agreeing to a one-year, $7.3 million deal with the Indians.

Perez showed some signs of decline in 2011, including a career-worst strikeout rate of 5.9 per nine innings, but last season he whiffed 9.2 per nine innings while saving 36 games with a 3.59 ERA.

If the Indians struggle in 2013 he’ll likely be a prime trade candidate, as Perez will probably command more than $10 million via arbitration for 2014 and would then hit the free agent market at age 28. Vinnie Pestano is waiting in the wings to take over ninth-inning duties if needed, although for now at least Perez is obviously a big part of Cleveland’s plans.

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Chris Perez has committed to pitching for Team USA

Chris Perez has committed to pitching for Team USA in the upcoming 2013 World Baseball Classic.

The 27-year-old reliever recorded 39 saves while posting a 3.59 ERA and 1.13 WHIP during the 2012 campaign. With Joe Nathan also expressing possible interest in playing for Team USA, it seems likely that Perez will be used in a setup role as opposed to the ninth inning.

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Chris Perez needs a better filter for outbursts, Chris Antonetti says

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Indians GM Chris Antonetti used one word to describe his end-of-the-season meeting with closer Chris Perez on Monday.

"Long," Antonetti said.

The only person in the Indians organization Perez didn't criticize during the season was Chief Wahoo. He ended the season by firing one broadside after another at fired manager Manny Acta.

Asked about Perez's sharp tongue Thursday, Antonetti said during his postmortem of the 2012 season: "I still think it comes from a good place with Chris. He's an exceptionally competitive guy, who badly wants to be a contributor to a winning team.

"Now, I wish he would have chosen his words differently . . . and maybe use the opportunity to do it more privately. But the root from where he's coming from is that he wants to be part of a winning team and he wants to do his part to help out."

Many feel Perez's verbal outbursts are a signal he wants out of Cleveland. Perez said Tuesday that was not so. He gave the same message to Antonetti.
"He expressed to me, and I think he expressed it publicly, that he wants to remain an Indian," Antonetti said.

As for his opinion on Perez's candor, Antonetti said: "I appreciate it when it's behind closed doors. Everyone would be best served if he chose his words more carefully. But I want guys on my team who care as much as Chris Perez does about winning ... absolutely."

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Chris Perez talks manager change

CLEVELAND -- Outspoken closer Chris Perez thinks the Indians need a more intense manager and better players.

Perez said Tuesday that Cleveland's second-half collapse was embarrassing and the laid-back approach of former manager Manny Acta didn't help.
"August wasn't baseball, it was pathetic -- in all aspects," Perez said about Cleveland's 5-24 slide that came after losing nine of its last 12 games in July.
Acta was fired Thursday and replaced by bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. on an interim basis.

"I'm not saying that a change earlier would have done anything," Perez said. "But sometimes we pressed the panic button. Why? A lot of things left you kind of scratching your head."

Alomar doesn't mind Perez being outspoken and said the right-hander's occasional outbursts are not detrimental if you understand his mindset. Alomar pointed out that Cleveland had controversial players while winning five consecutive AL Central championships in the 1990s.

"That's what drives him," Alomar said. "He's an All-Star player and in the clubhouse he's everybody's friend, always talking. On the field, it's a little different."
Alomar said Perez's passion to win sometimes leads him to go overboard. He would not want to douse that competitive fire.

That's fine with Perez, who hopes whoever is hired as manager will match his own intensity. He said either Alomar or Terry Francona, who led the Boston Red Sox to two World Series titles, would be a better fit than Acta. Alomar is due to interview for the full-time job on Thursday; Francona on Friday.

Perez suggested that watching Acta not argue with umpires or get angry with underperforming players led to his own frustrations boiling over in comments to the media earlier this season.

"A lot of that went out the door last week," Perez said. "The Manny you see and the Manny we see are different."

Perez insisted he likes and respects Acta, but disagreed with some of his decisions. Most of all, he wanted him to take a stronger stand in the dugout and the clubhouse.

"He's not very confrontational," Perez said. "We are men, we can handle it. Last year, he had two speeches -- on Opening Day and the last day.

"It's not like we (he and Acta) had yelling matches. Actually it went the other route -- seven, eight, nine days not even talking."

Despite Cleveland's horrible second half, Perez thinks the Indians have a good foundation on which to build. They led the AL Central for 40 days, until June 23. A gradual fade turned into an all-out collapse to last place.

"We kind of fell off the cliff," he said. "We are better than this."

Perez said he had a "very professional" conversation with general manager Chris Antonetti and came away with a better understanding of the organization's plans. He said he wants to stay in Cleveland and be part of a winner.

"If I didn't want to play here, the easiest way to get out was to tank," Perez said. "I didn't.

"They have control of me (under contract) for two years and while I'm here I want to win."

Perez doesn't anticipate being traded, but said that is beyond his control.

"I got the impression we're going to build upon our very strong bullpen," he said. "We were not in first place on luck. We have some good players here. Not enough, obviously, because we're not in the playoffs.

"I can't see these same players jumping over four teams in our division, but we can get better."

Perez doesn't want veterans added just for the sake of getting experienced players, and he wouldn't mind seeing the Indians push younger players as they did with right-hander Cody Allen, who moved up four levels to Cleveland this summer.

"Talent plays, whether it is 18 years old or 40," Perez said. "Baltimore called up a Dylan Bundy at age 19 because he can pitch."

Perez pointed to that decision helping the Orioles clinch a playoff berth after a decade and a half of losing. He thinks a new manager can do what Buck Showalter has done in Baltimore.

"It took a couple years, but he definitely had an impact on team chemistry and camaraderie," Perez said.

Alomar said he is confident he can do that. The longtime Cleveland fan favorite as a player and coach acknowledged that Francona does, too.

"Anybody would want Terry," Alomar said. "What's not to like? I respect him, but I feel I am ready, too."

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Chris Perez, Indians hold on to deal White Sox 4-3 loss

CHICAGO — Chris Perez held on in a shaky ninth to give the Cleveland Indians a satisfying win over the AL Central-leading White Sox.

He gave up a homer to Paul Konerko to open the ninth inning, but Gordon Beckham hit into a game-ending forceout with the potential tying run on second base, giving Cleveland a 4-3 win on Tuesday.

“We had a rough time and we’re just thinking about winning games,” manager Manny Acta said. “The last thing in our mind is to hurt somebody or knock somebody off. It’s just nice to win after what we’ve gone through the last two months.”

Chicago’s loss gave Detroit an opening to tie for the division lead later Tuesday night against Kansas City.

Russ Canzler had three hits and homered for the second straight game and Cory Kluber (2-4) shut down the White Sox for seven innings.

Down 4-0, Chicago closed when A.J. Pierzynski and Dayan Viciedo hit consecutive fifth-inning home runs off Kluber and then pulled within a run when Paul Konerko homered off Chris Perez leading off the ninth.

In the rocky ninth, Perez walked a pair of batters with two outs, and Beckham grounded to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, who threw to second baseman Jason Kipnis for the force. Perez earned his career-high 37th save in 41 chances.

Chicago (82-72) has held sole possession of the division lead since Sept. 3.

Kluber gave up four hits in a career-high seven innings, retiring nine of his last 10 batters. Vinnie Pestano and Perez completed the six-hitter.

Kluber ran into trouble in the fifth inning. Pierzynski extended his career-high with a solo homer leading off the fifth, his 27th of the year. Dayan Viciedo followed with his 22nd homer to cut Cleveland’s lead to 4-2.

“I made a couple bad pitches and they took advantage of them,” Kluber said. “For the most part, I hadn’t left too many balls over the middle. That’s what I kept telling myself, ‘Keep executing your pitches.’ ”

Beckham reached on a one-out walk after the home runs, but Kluber struck out Alejandro De Aza and Kevin Youkilis to retire the side.

“He grew a little as a pitcher today,” Acta said. “That was a well-pitched ballgame, a crucial situation for those guys. It’s a meaningful game and after starting a little shaky with his command in the first inning, he was really good.

“He had a good slider and his pitch count was unbelievable, very efficient. He gave up those two homers. He just settled down and continued to pound the strike zone and gave us seven solid innings of baseball.”

Pestano redeemed himself for blowing a two-run lead in Monday’s 5-4 loss with a scoreless eighth inning. He got De Aza to ground into his first double play of the season before he struck out Adam Dunn to end the inning. Dunn stunned the Indians with a late three-run homer off Pestano on Monday.

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Chris Perez thrilled with Tribe's dramatic rally

CLEVELAND -- Closer Chris Perez loved seeing Cleveland's offense break through for three runs in the ninth inning against Texas on Thursday night. He was especially happy that the dramatic rally came with no outs.

"I had time to get ready," Perez said with a laugh on Friday morning.

Save opportunities -- especially those like the one that rapidly presented itself in Thursday's 5-4 victory -- have been few and far between over the past two months. That's the nature of the beast for a closer employed by a ballclub mired in a long losing streak.

Needless to say, Perez enjoyed slamming the door on Thursday.

"It felt like a fun game," he said. "That's what we did last year a lot, those kind of wins. It's been a while since we felt like that."

Over the past 45 games, during which Cleveland has a 10-35 record, Perez has logged 13 1/3 innings over 15 appearances that included only nine save chances. Compare that with the team's first 99 games, when the two-time All-Star worked in 40 games (38 1/3 innings) and had 31 save opportunities.

To put it another way, Perez went from having a save opportunity roughly once every three games over the season's first three months to averaging one every five over the past two months.

"The closing role, it comes fast and furious, and then it's barren, and then fast and furious, and then barren again," he said. "It's an ebb and flow. This year it's been a little easier. I don't know why. I really haven't lost anything with the days off."

Perez knows that the volume of save opportunities he receives is out of his control. And with three weeks left in the season, he said that he and his teammates need to focus on the things that are under their control.

"Everybody knows what they're playing for, hopefully," he said. "There's probably only a handful of guys who should feel comfortable in this room with where they stand going into next year. Unfortunately, when teams underperform or you don't meet expectations, they tend to want to change stuff. Teams that win or make the playoffs, they don't get overhauled, because obviously, they were successful.

"So these next three weeks are big for guys to show what they can do here. They might just say, 'It's only three weeks,' but it's a big three weeks. What else do they have to go by? This is big league competition. You can only get by so much with what you did in the Minors. Eventually, you have to step up here."

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After comments, Chris Perez meets with GM Antonetti

ARLINGTON -- When a player publicly criticizes decisions made by his team's owner and general manager, it will often result in a one-way ticket out of town. The Indians are currently working through a situation along those lines.

Closer Chris Perez made critical comments about the Tribe's front office last week, creating the perception that he wants out of Cleveland. General manager Chris Antonetti, who is in Texas with the team, said perception is not always reality.

"If that's how people are perceiving it," Antonetti said, "or if that's how others are interpreting it, I really can't control that. Ultimately, I have to rely upon the conversations that Chris and I have had since that time. That's what I'll go on."

Antonetti would not delve into the specifics of his discussion with Perez, but it is no secret that members of the front office and ownership group were hardly pleased by the pitcher's remarks.

"I'm not going to get into the details of that," Antonetti said of his conversation with Perez. "Chris would probably tell you that he could've chosen his words differently -- the specifics of his words. But, again, I think it's coming from a bit of frustration that the team hasn't been as successful as we all had hoped, Chris included."

As for possibly looking to trade Perez this winter, Antonetti would only say that the Indians are open-minded to exploring deals for any of their players (Shin-Soo Choo, Justin Masterson, Asdrubal Cabrera and Perez have all been floated in rumors). The GM reiterated that the Tribe's situation is such that no player is untouchable.

"I've said that all along," Antonetti said. "We're not in a position to say any particular player is off limits. Now, that said, all of those guys who have been rumored about at various points in time, they're all still here, right? They're still Cleveland Indians. Just because teams call and ask and express interest doesn't necessarily mean we're going to trade someone."

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Chris Perez rips Tribe owners, front office

DETROIT, Mich. -- That didn't take long.

Closer Chris Perez rejoined the Indians on Tuesday following the birth of his daughter and is already taking shots at the team's ownership and front office. In a story about the success of small market teams such as Oakland, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay, Perez was critical about the Indians ownership and front office.

Asked about the difference between the Indians and AL Central rival Detroit, Perez pointed to Indians owner Larry Dolan and Detroit owner Mike Ilitch.

"Different owners," Perez is quoted as saying. "It comes down to that. [The Tigers] are spending money. [Ilitch] wants to win. Even when the economy was down [in Detroit], he spent money. He's got a team to show for it. You get what you pay for in baseball. Sometimes you don't. But most of the time you do."

The Tigers opened the season with a $133.5 million payroll. The Indians opened at $65 million.

The story made the point that small-market general managers have a smaller margin for error when it comes to trading their key players. It said Oakland GM Billy Beane got more in return for Andrew Bailey, Trevor Cahill and Carlos Gonzalez than the Tribe did for CC Sabathia (2008) and Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez (2009).

"You can't miss," Perez said. "You have to be right. That's why I say it's not just ownership. They don't make the trades. It's the GMs. It goes hand in hand. The GMs can only spend the money the owners give them, but they pick who they spend it on or who they don't. They pick. The owners don't pick.

"Josh Willingham would look great in this lineup. They didn't want to [pay] for that last year. ... That's the decision they make, and this is the bed we're laying in."
The Indians pursued the right-handed hitting Willingham last winter, but he signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the Twins. The Indians reportedly would only offer Willingham two years.

When asked about the comments before Wednesday's game, Perez said, "It's all online right? There you go."

Manager Manny Acta, when told of Perez's comments, said, "That's his opinion and I don't have anything to add to it."

"While we work to understand various perspectives, we strongly disagree with Chris' comments," said Tribe GM Chris Antonetti. "Nonetheless, we are not satisfied with our recent results and our entire organization remains committed to fielding winning teams and that is the standard by which we will continue to operate."

Antonetti did talk to Perez. Asked if Perez would be disciplined, Antonetti said only that the matter would be handle internally.

Earlier in the year Perez ripped fans for not coming to Progressive Field when the Indians were in first place in the Central. He also criticized Cleveland fans for their loyalty to the Browns and their refusal to forgive LeBron James for leaving the Cavaliers. On a recent trip, he became embroiled in a profanity-laced argument with a fan in Oakland that was videotaped and put on the Internet.

"We all have different DNA and we all have to live with each other and deal with each other the best way we can," said Acta, when asked if it was frustrating to manage Perez. "What really concerns is when he comes into the game in the ninth inning to save the game and gets it. The rest of the stuff we handle internally."

Not closed yet: Perez saved his 34th game Tuesday. He did it by returning to the scene of one of his biggest blown saves of the year. On Aug. 5, Perez entered the 10th inning with an 8-5 lead. He retired the first two batters and then gave up five runs in a 10-5 Tiger victory.

"When I got to two outs [Tuesday] that's what I thought about," said Perez. "You're supposed to have a short memory as a closer, but you never really forget. I used it as motivation."

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Chris Perez mows down Tigers to earn save

Indians closer Chris Perez was not available for Monday's series opener against the Tigers after leaving the team to be with his wife for the birth of his child.

On Tuesday Perez mowed down all three Tigers he faced on Tuesday en route to his 34th save of the season.
Perez came out of the gate firing, fanning Prince Fielder and Brennan Boesch before getting Delmon Young on a weak ground ball. After consecutive blown saves at the beginning of August, Perez has responded by converting five consecutive chances for the fading Tribe.

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Chris Perez urges Indians 'mates to 'step up'

CLEVELAND -- The Indians have six weeks left to turn the page on their recent struggles. It has been a damaging stretch for a Cleveland club that was in contention only a month ago, but the players understand there is time left to shift their focus.

That said, Indians closer Chris Perez does not think the team can completely erase what has taken plan over the past four weeks.

"I don't think you can wash it all away; it was too stinging," Perez said. "To be right there and then not lose because of injuries or stuff like we did last year, it's tough to take. At the same time, we've got 35 games to find out what we have for next year. Guys can step up and impress our staff.

"We've got some young guys in the rotation that need to show them what they've got, trying to get a spot for next year. It's the same with position players. ... There's a lot of stuff we can do moving forward, looking at next year."

Cleveland sat 3 1/2 games out of first place in the American League Central on July 26 but then suffered losing streaks of 11 games and nine games in a 26-game span. Now, entering Sunday's game with the Yankees, the Indians faced a 15 1/2-game hole in the division and was only four games ahead of the Twins for the worst record in the AL.

"I'll never forget about this season for the rest of my career," Perez said. "For me personally, yeah, this is going to go back into my bank. I'll be like, 'I don't ever want to get there again. How did it get to this? How did it get to 11 in a row? How'd it get to nine in a row?' Me personally, yeah, it'll help me out in the future.

"As a team? I don't know. It's hard. Because you're in the middle of a streak, it doesn't mean you come to the park trying to do something different. You try to win every game. We were losing all different ways -- bad starting pitching, bad hitting, bad bullpen, errors, walks. Everything. Home runs. You name it, and we found a way to lose.

"If anything, if we come out here and have a good September, we can say, 'Look, we went through the worst you can go through, and we bounced back and we're professionals.' At the end of the day, that's our job."

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Transcript of Chris Perez's Argument With A's Fan

Making fun of pitchers in the bullpen is an age-old baseball tradition. Now in the YouTube era we get to record such interactions for posterity. Case in point: Chris Perez of the Cleveland Indians. The relief pitcher was getting heckled by an Oakland A's fan and he didn't take kindly to it.

Normally, pitchers ignore such fan trolling, but Chris Perez decided to fight back with some trash talk, eventually telling the guy to "get your dick out of your mouth."

Here is a transcript of the Chris Perez incident:

Perez: "I got more saves than your whole fucking team does, so why don't you go look at those stats, you fucker."

Fan: "Oh, what's the standings? Oh, we're ahead of you."

Perez: "I don't give a fuck. I don't give a fuck."

Fan (to security guard): "He's swearing. I'm not."

Perez: "What's my salary this year?"

Fan: "What's your salary? Who gives a shit? How many blown saves you got?"

Perez: "Four. Was I an All-Star again? Was I an All-Star again?"

Fan (to some other Indians player): "Hey, who the hell are you? Who the hell are you? I don't even know who you are."

Perez: "Was I an All-Star again, you piece of shit? Go back to your fucking ----."

Fan (to someone else): "Go back to whatever Triple-A team you are. You're all scrubs. You play for the Indians."

The conversation continues after Perez asks security to eject the fan;

Fan: "Oh, get me out of here?"

Perez: "Have a nice day."

Fan: "Have I said a swear word?"

Perez: "Get your dick out of your mouth."

Fan: "I haven't ... Oh. Really? Really? Hey. Did you hear that?

Other fan: "I did."

Fan: Did you hear that? You're classless, bro. Get a haircut. You're garbage. You are garbage. You're garbage. Way to come over here and show yourself. Way to prove yourself, garbage man."

Other fan: "Hey, gimme a high-five. They gave each other high-fives."

Fan: Yeah, keep walking away. Garbage. Fucking cunt

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Chris Perez has no regrets about argument with Oakland A's fan

SEATTLE, Wash. — At least this time closer Chris Perez didn't go head-to-head with Indians fans.

Before Saturday night's game against Oakland at Coliseum, Perez argued with a heckler dressed in Athletics gear at the grandstand near the Indians' bullpen. One of the heckler's friends videotaped the confrontation and put it on the Internet. It can still be seen on, but took it down.
Perez had no qualms about the profanity-laced exchange, with Perez using most of the foul language, being captured on video.

"I don't regret it," he said before Monday night's game in Seattle. "I wouldn't have done it (if I regretted it). Looking back, it's not the best thing to be on the Internet and stuff. I had no idea they were videotaping it. I wouldn't have done it if I knew that.

"Looking back, that's what he was planning. So he got me."

Perez said the same fan has been heckling him for four years.

"Let me give you some history," said Perez. "He's been there for four years. I always shag in left field and he's been wearing me out for four years. On Saturday, I was in right center to get away from him. He came around to right center and got on me again.

"I ignored it for 1 1/2 groups (of Indians hitters during batting practice). Then I just said, 'What's your problem? If you got something to say, come down to my face and say it down in the bullpen.' That's what happened."

The video shows his ulterior motives. It's unfortunate. It's out there and I've just got to live and learn from it."

Indians General Manager Chris Antonetti talked to Perez on Monday after viewing the video.

"While there is more to the situation than the video depicts, Chris understands that he should have handled the situation differently," said Antonetti. "In my conversation with him, Chris assured me that he would deal with any future incidents more appropriately."

The video shows an A's security guard standing next to Perez during the exchange.

Bob Rose, director of public relations for the A's, said: "The A’s security guard on the field stepped in and then monitored the verbal exchange to make sure it did not escalate. The exchange ended and that was the extent of it."

In the video it appeared the Perez asked the security guard to eject the fan, but it's not clear if he was ejected or not.

"You have to live and learn," said Perez. "Luckily, I didn't say too much bad stuff. It was pretty bad, but it could have been worse.

"It's one of those things ... four years and I'd had enough. I'm not even playing the game. I'm shagging. I understand during the game it's all part of the game. It wasn't just a random guy that I just pointed out. It was the same guy for four years who has just been on me and on me."

Perez did not think he should be disciplined by the Indians or MLB.

"For what, talking?" asked Perez. "No, I think I'm all right."

As Perez walked away from the argument, the fan yelled: "Get your hair cut. You're garbage."

Perez complimented Oakland fans.

"We've had really good experiences with their fans," said Perez. "We're right there in that little wood box (bullpen dugout) and all those people are nice. He's an isolated incident.l I've never had any problems warming up there. Usually they're complimentary."

Twice this season Perez has criticized Cleveland fans, once for not coming to Progressive Field and watching the Indians when they were in first place in the AL Central, and again when he questioned their blind loyalty to the Browns and wondered why they couldn't forgive former Cavalier LeBron James.

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Chris Perez notches 100th career save

ANAHEIM -- When Indians closer Chris Perez notched the 100th save of his career in Monday night's 6-2 win over the Angels, he did so in a way that he probably wouldn't have, say, 100 saves ago: with total command and composure.

Perez came into a two-on, no-outs jam in the ninth and proceeded to throw 12 strikes in 15 pitches to retire the side and nail down his 32nd save in 36 chances. Perez says that efficiency is a sign of the growth he's experienced since tallying his first career save as a 22-year-old Cardinals reliever in 2008.

"I'm a much more polished pitcher now," Perez said. "Back then I would just try to throw as hard as I could to get guys out. Now I'm setting them up, trying to make my pitches. I've learned a lot."

With those lessons in tow, the 26-year-old seems poised to eclipse his career high of 36 saves, a mark he set last year after recording 23 saves in the previous campaign. He's allowed just 18 earned runs in 43 2/3 innings this season and struck out 49. His walk totals are down (11), he hasn't hit a batter, and hasn't thrown a wild pitch.

"The command's just there," Perez said. "The more innings you throw, the more pitches you go, the more comfortable you get. ... It's not as frustrating as it used to be. It's going where I want it."

His manager, Manny Acta, sees a clear progression from the time Perez assumed the closer's role midway through the 2010 season to this year.

"He has really grown into the [closer's] role. This year it's a totally different guy," Acta said. "He spent the first year setting up until we moved him there last year. ... He started with some forearm issues and the velocity wasn't there, he was getting used to it. This year he's been the whole package."

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Chris Perez shuts down Red Sox to earn save

Chris Perez shut down the Red Sox on Saturday night, allowing just one hit in his one inning of work while earning his 31st save of the season.
That's two strong outings in a row for Perez after a pair of epic blown saves last week. While he isn't the prototypical shutdown closer, he's more than capable of succeeding in the role and should make a push toward 40 saves before the season is over.

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Chris Perez rebounds to record 30th save

After a pair of colossal blown saves, Chris Perez rebounded nicely on Thursday, retiring the Red Sox in order to earn his 30th save of the season.
While Perez's job was never in serious jeopardy, had he blown a third consecutive chance there may have been rumblings of making the switch to Vinnie Pestano. As it stands, Perez has now converted 30-of-34 chances on the season while posting a 3.89 ERA and 46/11 K/BB ratio over 40 2/3 innings.

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Chris Perez not down after blown saves

CLEVELAND -- After Chris Perez blew his second consecutive save for the Indians on Tuesday night, the closer said he may need to look at video to solve his recent problems.

On Wednesday, he dismissed the idea.

"I still haven't watched video," Perez said. "I don't need to, because I know it's just minor, nothing major. If I was throwing stuff to the backstop and hitting guys, that's a major mechanical issue. ... It's just little things that are painful."

Perez met with pitching coach Scott Radinsky in the clubhouse on Wednesday morning, and the two discussed the possibility that the All-Star closer has been tipping his pitches. Perez allowed three runs in Cleveland's 7-5 loss to the Twins on Tuesday, and he gave up five runs with two outs in a 10-8 extra-inning loss to the Tigers on Sunday.

Perez had converted 29 of his first 31 save opportunities.

"I just keep opening up to hitters, and they're seeing the ball really well, obviously," Perez said. "I felt good last night. The one in Detroit -- that's [a] lack of concentration, that's something."

Perez struck out Joe Mauer to begin the ninth inning Tuesday, but then the struggles began. Josh Willingham muscled a single to right field, stole second and scored after an error by first baseman Casey Kotchman on a ball hit by Justin Morneau.

Perez wasn't upset with Kotchman because it was a tough play, but Perez was upset with himself for letting Willingham steal second.

"I was more mad I didn't hold the runner better, honestly," Perez said. "If I would have held him better, Kotchman's [covering] on first, [and] that might be a one-hop right to him instead of getting that second hop, and it might be a double play."

Still, even amid his recent blown saves and the team's 11-game losing streak, Perez seemed in good spirits on Wednesday. Manager Manny Acta walked through the clubhouse, patted his closer on the back and told him to keep his head up. Perez had a simple response.

"I just want to get back out there," he said.

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Chris Perez blows second straight save chance

Chris Perez blew his second straight save opportunity, allowing three runs (one earned) on four hits and a walk in just 2/3 of an inning in Tuesday's loss to the Twins.

He entered the game with a 4-3 lead, and retired the first hitter before Josh Willingham singled. Darin Mastroianni pinch-ran and stole second base, then came around to score as Casey Kotchman made a critical error on a ball hit by Justin Morneau. The error surely didn't help keep Perez's emotions in check, as he proceeded to allow a double, sacrifice fly, single, single and walk to the next five hitters before being removed. While he's still converted 29-of-33 save chances on the season, Vinnie Pestano has been incredible this season and provides them with a strong alternative the next time a save chance arises.

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Chris Perez Calls Sunday "The Low Point Of His Career"

Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Chris Perez has always been vocal about his career through social media. He has over 51,000 followers and describes himself as, "Just a normal guy with an arm like a fu***** cannon." Normal guys have strong emotions, and after he fell apart on Sunday against the Detroit Tigers Perez cut no corners when he spoke about his overall performance:

"There aren’t enough words in the dictionary to describe how much I sucked today. Go ahead Cleveland, give it to me..."

Perez wasn't finished, as he went on to further express his frustration:

"Definitely the low point of my professional career. Only thing I can do is work harder tomorrow and get better. #NeverGiveIn"

Perez had a three run lead when he entered Sunday's game in the 10th inning, but after recording the first two outs, he gave up two walks, a double, a single and a two-run home run to blow his third save of the year.

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Chris Perez blows third save in epic fashion

Chris Perez melted down in Sunday's 10-8, 10-inning loss to the Tigers, allowing a season-worst five runs on three hits, two walks and a home run.

The home run was a two-run walkoff job from Miguel Cabrera. Both the blown save and loss were Perez's third of the year. He had yet to allow a run in seven innings over eight appearances since the All-Star break. Perez's ERA is now an ugly 3.82, but 11 of his 17 runs allowed have come in just three games. It's not a concern for a closer who's made 43 appearances. Perez's job is safe.

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The Giants are interested in Chris Perez

The Giants lost their outspoken, eccentric closer with imaginative facial hair before the season began, so they apparently need a new outspoken, eccentric closer with imaginative facial hair. The Indians’ Chris Perez:

The San Francisco Giants, seeking late-inning help, are interested in Perez, according to major-league sources. The Indians could entertain moving Perez for two reasons – they are deep in relievers, and Perez likely will earn about $7 million next season in his second year of arbitration.

Closers are never more valuable, or are at least never perceived as more valuable, than this time of year. Unless the Indians really plan on paying Perez $7 million or more next year, they should seriously think about moving him.

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Chris Perez thinks team needs to win Central Division

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The addition of a second wild card this season will spell salvation for two teams come September. All-Star closer Chris Perez doesn't think the Indians can count on that.

"We're going to have to win the Central," said Perez Monday to a swarm of reporters around his podium at the American League interview session. "The second wild card is coming out of the AL East. That's the superior division in our league."

At the All-Star break, the Indians are 44-41 and in second place in the AL Central. They trail Chicago by three games with Detroit lurking in third place, a half-game out of second.

If the season ended today, the two AL wild card teams would be the Angels and Orioles. The Indians would miss the second wild card by one game.

"We've been in a dogfight all year," said Perez. "Now it's a three-team race."

Detroit was the preseason pick to win the Central. They paired newly signed Prince Fielder with Miguel Cabrera to lead the offense and had Justin Verlander, the AL's Cy Young winner in 2011, to lead the pitching staff.

The Tigers have had a hard time getting out of their own way through much of the first half. The Indians and White Sox gladly filled the void, trading first place in the division for the first 31/2 months of the season.

"For sure, we can catch them," said shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, the Indians' other All-Star. "I believe in my team. We just have to keep doing what we're doing and be more consistent."

The White Sox under General Manager Ken Williams and rookie manager Robin Ventura had a good first half. They went into the break with eight rookie pitchers on their staff. Lefty Matt Thornton was the only veteran in the bullpen.

All-Star left-hander Chris Sale is not a rookie, but he had a lot to do with the White Sox's rise in the first half. Sale, in his first year in the rotation, could have easily started for the AL tonight against San Francisco's Matt Cain after going 10-2 with a 2.19 ERA. AL manager Ron Washington went with Verlander (9-5, 2.58), though Sale had the better numbers.

"At the start of the season, some people might have said you're crazy if you said we'd be sitting where we are at the All-Star break," said Sale, "but we're not surprised at all. . . . We're going to try and do the same thing in the second half."

The White Sox, who won 11 of their past 15 games going into the break, are 8-4 against the Indians this year. The two teams do not meet again until September when they play six times in the final 10 games of the regular season.

Sale, Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko and Jake Peavy are representing the White Sox at the All-Star Game.

"I don't think we're playing over our heads at all," said Dunn. "We had a lot of guys do a lot of great things in the first half, but myself included, I think we're capable of doing way more. I can get on base more. I can drive in more runs."

Dunn has always been an all-or-nothing hitter. Last year in Chicago, he was just nothing. This year he's hitting .208 (61-for-293) with 21 homers and 61 RBI. He leads the big leagues with 68 walks and 134 strikeouts.

Asked what this year's first half meant to him, Dunn said, "To be honest with you, it means nothing. I know it sounds crazy. I'm looking forward to the second half. There are a lot of things I need to clean up. Hopefully, I can have a better second half than first."

The White Sox beat the Tribe to Kevin Youkilis. They acquired the veteran third baseman from Boston and he has driven in 14 runs in 13 games. The Indians could have used his right-handed bat to balance their left-handed dominated lineup.

GM Chris Antonetti is still looking for help from the outside. It was suggested to Perez that the Indians could use another starting pitcher.

"We did it last year and it didn't work when we traded for Ubaldo [Jimenez]," said Perez. "I like what we have in-house, we just haven't played up to our potential. Justin Masterson is starting to get better. Ubaldo is throwing the ball better. Josh Tomlin had a nice start his last time out. Zach McAllister has really impressed me.

"We need to just keep being consistent."

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Danny Valencia 'not happy' in minors, friend Chris Perez says

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It was a year ago this month that Danny Valencia handed his good friend, Chris Perez, his second blown save of the 2011 season, lacing a bases-loaded single to score two runs in the ninth inning of a 2-1 walkoff victory over Cleveland at Target Field.

Perez, a former high school rival and University of Miami teammate, spent that night at Valencia's place as the two celebrated their major leagues trajectories. A year later, however, Perez is making his second All-Star Game appearance and Valencia is battling to get back to the major leagues, 55 games into a tuneup at Class AAA Rochester.

"It seems like he's in a good place," said Perez, who has converted 24 of 26 save opportunities for the Indians this season. "He's not happy, obviously. He's frustrated. But he's doing his work down there; he just needs an opportunity again.

"Unfortunately, what's-his-name's crushing the ball."

What's-his-name, of course, is Trevor Plouffe, who has taken hold of Valencia's old job. Since Valencia was optioned to Rochester in May, Plouffe is batting .280 with 18 home runs, nine doubles and 34 RBIs. And in a weekend series at Texas, he made half a dozen terrific plays at third, one of five positions he has played this season. In his past 29 games, though, Plouffe has been the team's third baseman.

Valencia hit .311 in 81 games as a rookie and led the team with 72 RBIs in his first full season in 2011, but he was hitting .190 with one homer and 11 RBIs when he was sent down.

With the Red Wings, he is batting .244 with seven homers, 11 doubles and 31 RBIs, and he drove in the winning run in a 1-0, eight-inning victory over Lehigh Valley in Sunday's doubleheader opener. If there is a glaring weakness in his numbers, it's in the walks -- just 11 in 224 plate appearances. His on-base percentage is only .281.

Perez said he talks to Valencia once a month and texts him frequently.

"His head seems to be in a good spot," Perez said.

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Chris Perez not afraid to be himself

KANSAS CITY — Former Springfield Cardinals closer Chris Perez arrived to the All-Star festivities on Monday sporting a long, flowing mane and Grizzly Adams beard, plus a penchant for speaking his mind on a Twitter account.

Make that, a big penchant for speaking his mind.

“I’ve always been like that. Now it’s just getting more play obviously. I’m a sound bite, I guess,” Perez joked during an interview with the News-Leader.

Perez last season became the first Springfield Cardinals alum to participate in an All-Star Game, and the Cleveland Indians closer could be called on again tonight for the American League, having converted the circuit’s third-most saves, 23.

But his opinion and personality have taken center stage almost more often, or so it seems. Now 27 and five years removed from Springfield, Perez has more than 48,000 followers on his Twitter account, @ChrisPerez54.

Then again, living on the edge was his modus operandi in Springfield in 2007, when he converted 27 consecutive saves after coughing up a winning home run in the second game of the season. Many nights, however, were more like high-wire acts.

“I was raw. Now, I’m not a totally different pitcher but I definitely am more refined. A lot more strikes, a lot more control,” Perez said. “You remember, I’d walk the bases loaded and strike out the side.”

Perez joked that he wonders now whether the Cardinals would have allowed his Twitter account in 2007, given the organization had strict rules: no-facial hair policy and players were required to wear their socks up to their knees throw-back style. He went the extra mile, often sporting a buzz cut.

Already this year, Perez has fired off comments about Indians fans not supporting the team enough, about anti-LeBron James sentiment in Cleveland and also has taken a dig at the Kansas City Royals.

Beyond that, he went on radio and implicated the St. Louis Cardinals in a recent pine tar-pitchers controversy, after baseball slapped Tampa Bay’s Joel Peralta with an eight-game suspension. Umpires discovered pine tar in Peralta’s glove.

As teammate and fellow all-star Asdrubal Cabrera said Monday, “He’s crazy.”

“But he’s a really good guy in the clubhouse,” Cabrera quickly added.

Perez is among 19 players off the 2007 Springfield club to reach the big leagues, and was one of the bigger names that season, given the right-hander was a 42nd round draft pick in 2006 out of the University of Miami. He had signed for a reported $800,000.

Pretty much, games were over after the starting pitcher exited on a team that fell two wins shy of the Texas League pennant. Perez, however, was promoted to Triple-A Memphis on July 31 that season.

“(Kyle) McClellan was the seventh, (Jason) Motte was the eighth and I was the ninth,” Perez said, listing three current big-leaguers who were the back end of Springfield’s bullpen during the heart of the 2007 season. “In Double-A, that was a pretty good bullpen.”

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Everybody hates Chris (Perez) in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chris Perez will take his place along the first-base foul line along with the rest of the American League All-Star team tonight at Kauffman Stadium.

The Cleveland Indians closer is likely to be booed more than any of the 68 players on the two teams, and he is fine with that.

"I'm sure it's going to happen," Perez said Monday. "That's OK, though."

The 27-year-old with the bushy black hair and beard to match then broke into a grin.

"I'm with the American League," Perez said. "I'm with the home team this time and I hope the Kansas City fans realize we're all in this together."

Perez drew the ire of Kansas City fans on April 14 when he made fun of the Royals' marketing slogan "It's Our Time," on Twitter after the teams had two benches-clearing incidents that day in Kansas City. The Indians used the slogan "It's Tribe Time Now," for a number of seasons before switching to "What If?" this year.

Perez also got into a war of words with Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson on May 29 after Perez struck out Dyson to end the game. Perez made the "I Can't See You" sign, popularized by World Wrestling Entertainment performer John Cena.

"I just don't get Kansas City using 'It's Our Time Now,' because they stole our slogan," Perez said. "What do they mean it's their time now? That's a front-office thing, a marketing department thing. It's not coming from their players."

When he isn't comparing marketing ideas in the AL Central, Perez continues to develop into one of the top closers in the major leagues. He converted 24 consecutive opportunities between blown saves on opening day and the final day of the first half.

With 24 saves, Perez is third in the AL behind Baltimore's Jim Johnson (26) and Tampa Bay's Fernando Rodney (25). Perez was fourth in the league with 36 last season.

Yet Perez has developed a reputation nationally more for his controversial comments than for pitching for an Indians team that is in second place in the AL Central, three games behind the Chicago White Sox. A member of the Indians media relations department stood near Perez for much of the 45-minute media availability with AL players on Monday.

"I say what I feel and I've always been that way," Perez said. "I'm not trying to cause trouble. When people ask questions, I answer them from the heart. That's how I've always been and how I always will be. I don't apologize for that because you should never have to apologize for being honest.

"I know there are players who (the media) already knows what they are going to say before the interview starts. I don't want to be like that. I want people to know how I feel."

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Chris Perez blows first save since Opening Day

Chris Perez blew his first save since Opening Day in Sunday's loss to the Rays, allowing three runs on four hits in an inning of work.
The only bright side in an appearance where Perez served up both a home run and triple was the fact that he managed to record all three of his outs via strikeout. The nightmare day ballooned Perez's ERA from 2.59 from 3.34, but somehow we doubt the cries for Vinnie Pestano will be quite as loud as they were in April. Perez will represent Cleveland for the second consecutive season in Tuesday's All-Star Game.

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Chris Perez records 24th straight save

Chris Perez pitched around a leadoff single to shut down the Rays in the ninth inning on Thursday, recording his 24th consecutive save.

After blowing his first chance of the season on April 5, Perez has been a perfect 24-for-24 in save opportunities, giving the Indians tremendous stability at the back of the bullpen. While his 2.59 ERA and 32 K's in 31 1/3 innings don't scream "elite closer", he's been one of the best in the league this season.

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Chris Perez expects to be booed at All-Star Game

Baltimore – Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and closer Chris Perez are going to Kansas City for the All-Star Game on July 10.

It's the second straight All-Star selection for each player and a sign they are establishing themselves among Major League Baseball's upper crust. One reminder for Perez, who has converted 23 straight saves: Bring earplugs.

Perez, a closer who speaks his mind, has ripped Indians fans, Browns fans and LeBron James haters in the first half. But he has saved a special place for the Kansas City Royals, who call Kauffman Stadium home.

“I'm prepared to get booed,” said Perez, who celebrated his 27th birthday Sunday. “I'm hoping there's a lot of national baseball fans at the game. Not just Kansas City fans.”

Perez was fined $850 by MLB for a Tweet earlier in the year after the benches cleared during an April 14 game between the two teams. Later, Perez – while ripping Indians fans for not attending games – used the Royals and Pirates as examples of franchises that never win.

On May 28, after hearing the Royals were upset and “were coming after me,” Perez struck out Jarrod Dyson in the ninth inning and waved his hand across his face, copying WWE wrestler John Cena's “You Can't See Me” sign.

“Chris isn’t on the All-Star team because of what he said,” said Tribe manager Manny Acta. “He’s been pretty darn good after Opening Day. Has there been anybody better? He’s an All-Star closer.”

Perez and Cabrera were selected as a result of a vote by Major League Baseball players.

Perez is 0-1 with a 2.67 ERA in 32 appearances. He has converted 23 saves in 24 chances with 32 strikeouts, seven walks and 19 hits in 32 innings. The opposition is hitting .209 against him.

The most recent Indians closer to be named to consecutive All-Star teams was Jose Mesa in 1995 and 1996.

“I have to give most credit to my bullpen mates,” said Perez. “Vinnie Pestano, for sure. I only get the opportunities he converts, and he’s been outstanding since last year.

“And my teammates overall. I only get as many opportunities as they give me.”

Perez received a $50,000 bonus for making the All-Star team. Cabrera received a $100,000 bonus.

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Chris Perez makes 2nd straight All-Star team

BALTIMORE, M.D. -- Indians closer Chris Perez was named to his second straight All-Star game Sunday. That's the good news.

The not so good news is that the All-Star game is July 10 at Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals.

"I'm prepared to get booed," said Perez, who celebrated his 27th birthday Sunday.

Perez, who has saved 23 straight games, was fined $850 by MLB for a Tweet earlier in the year after the benches cleared during a April 14 game between the two teams. Later Perez, while ripping Indians fans for not attending games, used the Royals and Pirates as an example of franchises that never win.

On May 28, after hearing the Royals were upset and "were coming after me,' Perez struck out Jarrod Dyson and waved his hand across his face, copying WEE wrestler John Cena's "You Can't See Me' sign.

In the second stop on this 10-game trip, Perez told the New York Times that he didn't understand Cleveland fans hatred of LeBron James and their blind loyalty to the Browns, while giving the Indians the cold shoulder. 

On the field, Perez has been the model of consistency. After blowing a save on Opening Day against the White Sox, he's been flawless.

"Chris isn't on the All-Star team because of what he said," said manager Manny Acta. "He's been pretty darn good after Opening Day. Has there been anybody better? He's an All-Star closer."

Perez is 0-1 with a 2.76 ERA in 31 appearances. He's converted 23 saves out of 24 chances. He's struck out 36, walked 13 and allowed 19 hits in 31 innings. The opposition is hitting .171 against him.

He earned a $50,000 bonus for his All-Star selection.

The last Indians closer to be named to consecutive All-Star teams was Jose Mesa in 1995 and 1996.

"I have to give most credit to my bullpen mates," said Perez. "Vinnie Pestano for sure. I only get the opportunities he converts, and he's been outstanding since last year.

"And my teammates overall. I only get as many opportunities as they give me."

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Chris Perez rips into Browns fans

Because the city of Cleveland hasn't endured enough slings and arrows in recent years, there's this:

Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez believes the city's sports fans have issues. Deep issues.

Case in point: The Indians hover above .500, playing decent baseball, but nobody's buying tickets. Perez sees a group of malcontents more interested in sticking pins into LeBron James dolls.

Cleveland's age-old obsession with the Browns? Unhealthy and strange, according to Perez, who hails from Florida.

"That's what I don't understand," he recently told The New York Times. "Their whole thing is, 'We want a winner.' Well, why do you support the Browns? They don't win. They've never won. They left. You guys blindly support them. I don't understand it. It's a double standard, and I don't know why.

"... They've had a lot of years of misery. They say, 'You just don't understand because you don't live here,' O.K, maybe I don't. But that doesn't mean it has to keep going."

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Chris Perez fingers Cards pitchers

The Cardinals have become character actors in the drama resulting from last week's ejection and suspension of Tampa Bay reliever Joel Peralta for having pine tar on his glove.

Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez, a former member of the Redbirds' bullpen, noted during a subsequent interview with XM Radio that several "older" Cardinal pitchers used various substances during his time with the club.

Perez later amended his comments to say, "It wasn't like an organizational thing." However, his comments managed to partially redirect the issue.
Several veteran Cardinals starting pitchers admitted being familiar with mixing a foreign substance with resin to better grip the ball.

"First of all, I don't know what Chris is talking about," responded Chris Carpenter, who has been with the Cardinals since 2003, including his 2005 NL Cy Young Award season. "Second, it is what it is. I understand it's in the rule book. But it's a situation that happens. There are probably a lot of pitchers in this game who need something at times to help them get a better grip.

"If you're talking about scuffing or putting Vaseline on the ball to make it move differently, that's a separate issue. But to do something to get a better grip on the ball? With guys throwing 100 miles per hour? I don't think that's cheating. Unfortunately for (Peralta), maybe they didn't like him. I don't know. Pine tar, sunscreen, whatever… it's not there to help the ball sink, cut or do funny things. It's a tool to keep it from flying out of your hands."

Major League Baseball suspended Peralta for eight games, a sentence many players believe overly harsh.

The Cardinals were parties to a potential controversy during Game 2 of the 2006 World Series when Detroit starting pitcher Kenny Rogers was spotted with noticeable smudges, apparently pine tar, on his pitching thumb.

Then-Cardinals manager Tony La Russa didn't ask umpires to check Rogers' glove but did request that Rogers clean his hand. La Russa received criticism at the time for not pressing the issue.

"If it's something like Rogers in the World Series, that was different. That was overboard," Cards pitcher Adam Wainwright said. "He was getting an unfair advantage. If you're talking about remnants of pine tar on his glove, I don't buy into that" being a violation.

"I really don't know how (Rogers) used it. I guess you can create more spin on your breaking ball if you use enough of it. But the reason we didn't like it was because it was so 'in your face.' If he had been a little more discreet with it nothing would have ever been said."

Wainwright acknowledges at times using a mix of resin and sunscreen to enhance his grip. Just as significant, the combo applied to his pitching arm helps prevent sweat rolling onto his hand.

"There's a difference in pine tar from oil and grease, things that make the ball sink, cut or do different stuff," he said. "That's different than doctoring a ball. If one of our pitchers gets a scuff on the side of a ball he can do all kinds of things with it. An emery board or something like that is totally different.''

Manager Mike Matheny declined comment on the matter but the team is among those believing the use of substance mixed with resin to better grip the ball is widespread if not universal.

"If you're doing something to find a better grip, I don't have an issue with that," Cards pitcher Kyle Lohse said. "I don't think hitters would, either."
Carpenter maintained "every single person at some point or time has tried something" to better grip the ball.

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Chris Perez believes pine tar use is widespread

HOUSTON (AP) – Outspoken Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez said Friday he believes there are pitchers on every team who use pine tar and other substances to manipulate the ball.

"If before every game if they stopped and checked everybody's gloves or something there would be one or two guys on every team that would just get popped," he said.

Clarifying comments he made earlier on a satellite radio show, Perez, a former Cardinal, said he wasn't specifically calling out St. Louis for doing it.
"I've only played for two teams and more guys did it on the Cardinals than here," he said. "That's the only thing I was trying to say. It wasn't like an organizational thing."

Tampa Bay reliever Joel Peralta was suspended for eight games on Thursday for having pine tar on his glove. The suspension came after he was ejected Tuesday night when Washington manager Davey Johnson asked the umpires to check his glove when he was warming up in the eighth inning.

Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon was upset with Johnson's actions, saying he had inside information since Peralta pitched for the Nationals in 2010.

Perez believes the issue isn't pine tar on gloves, but rather that one of the many unwritten rules of baseball was broken when Johnson used inside information on a former player.

"I think the Rays are more mad about somebody calling them out," he said. "It had to be somebody that knew— that used to play with them. I have old teammates that I could tell (manager) Manny (Acta) to call out, but I'm not going to. It's not bush league, but it's still not on the up and up."

None of the St. Louis pitchers who were with the team when Perez was there were available for comment on Friday, but a couple of pitchers who have since joined the team weighed in on the issue.

Starter Lance Lynn wasn't sure how widespread the use of pine tar is.

"You hear about guys doing it, but I've never witnessed it myself," he said. "It's something you hear about around the league, one or two guys doing it."

Fellow St. Louis starter Kyle Lohse also seemed to agree with Perez that there's an unwritten rule about not using inside information on former teammates.

"If you're going to start throwing guys under the bus, then you'd better be sure there's nobody on your own team doing it," he said. "That's all I have to say."

Perez says he only uses rosin, but that he's seen players use pine tar, sunscreen, rosin, dirt and a mixture of those things. He doesn't believe that pine tar changes the pitches, but rather simply helps with gripping the ball.

"I use just rosin and it can get just as sticky as pine tar and if they checked me some games, there would be nothing in my glove, but my fingers would stick together because rosin with sweat and dirt is sticky," Perez said. "That's why it's out there is to help us."

Perez isn't one to hold his tongue, and called out Indians fans for lack of support in May and was fined by the league earlier in the season for a tweet after a series with the Royals in Kansas City. He also riled up Kansas City outfielder Jarrod Dyson recently with a hand gesture he made after striking him out.

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Chris Perez doing his part to boost Indians' attendance

It wasn't that long ago that Tribe closer Chris Perez cut loose on some of his team's fans. 

Perez, if you'll recall, was angered by the boo-birds at Progressive Field when he allowed two runners to reach base….not score, but just reach base. Following the game, he lashed out about booing, and it led into resentment about attendance for the Indians' home games.

To their credit, the fans heard what Perez said and took it to heart, rather than lash back. They started showing up in bigger numbers, and the roar of approval that he gets every time he enters a game is testament to their belief in him.

If you pay attention, the booing has even decreased dramatically at the games now, even when things aren't going well for Cleveland.

But the outcries on the internet (which is usually where people go to whine) were all-out attacks on Perez, coming up with every excuse possible for not going to the games and supporting the home team. One of the more popular excuses was that "if he wants us to go to the games, he should buy us tickets."

Consider it done.

Perez has been using his Twitter account to give away tickets to each home game. He asks a trivia question, and the first three fans that answer correctly are treated to a Tribe game that night.

Tix Trivia: What are the only MLB teams never to play in a World Series?

That's the question that allowed six fans to see last night's 3-2 victory in ten innings over the Reds.

Fans of the opposition hate Chris Perez because he's very emotional and vocal on the mound. That, and the fact that he's very, very good at getting the other team out.

These are the reasons that Tribe fans love him, and they're starting to show up more and more at Progressive Field. Guys like Perez deserve to be praised for their dedication and their genuine desire to bring more fans to the ballpark.

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Chris Perez Leads Majors In Saves

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Chris Perez is baseball's rock and roll reliever

CLEVELAND -- Bored by 40-year-old artifacts that seem ancient to them, a group of junior high students were on a long, strange trip through a Grateful Dead exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when they saw something they could relate to amid Jerry Garcia's guitar collection.

Sunglasses sweeping back long hair, the bearded guy in jeans, retro sneakers and jeweled wristwatch had a rock star's look and swagger.

The kids rushed Chris Perez.

"What's your favorite thing so far?" Cleveland's colorful closer asked.

"You," one of the youngsters yelled.

Not everyone has been as excited to see Perez lately.

In case you haven't been following his exploits, Perez has been something of a renegade during this season's first two months. He's the first player to be fined under Major League's Baseball's social media policy. He's fired fastballs past opponents and offended others -- notably the Kansas City Royals -- with primal screams and gestures on the mound. He's antagonized Cleveland fans by shaming them for not backing an Indians team fighting for first place.

"You can't be afraid to speak your mind or worry about what people think about you," he said before pausing. "As long as you can back it up."
A large photo of Doors frontman Jim Morrison -- leering -- hung nearby. It seemed to fit.

In an age of political correctness, this CP doesn't worry about being PC. He's bold and brash, a baseball outlaw enjoying the ride of his life and getting paid big money to play a kid's game. He's making friends and enemies, and rattling cages along the way.

Pure rage
That's Perez's nickname, but it also would work nicely as the tag for a heavy metal band or punk group. It's also the attitude Perez carries with him to the mound. Now in his second season as Cleveland's closer, the hard-throwing 26-year-old, acquired in a trade from St. Louis in 2009, has become one of the game's top relievers.

After blowing his first chance of the year at home on opening day he was perfect since heading into the weekend, and has been a major reason the Indians, picked to finish way behind Detroit and Chicago in the AL Central, are hanging around the top of the division.

Perez's record almost is pristine. His performances have been far from perfect.

Watching him try to get the final three outs is not for the faint of heart. Perez is part knife thrower, part high-wire walker, a daring act loaded with surprise and suspense. He rarely retires the side easily, often putting a runner -- or two -- on base before working his way out of a self-inflicted mess.

It's the way he's always done it, going back to his days at the University of Miami and minor leagues.

"I was rough," Perez said. "I would walk three in a row and strike out three in a row. That still is me sometimes. But I'm more refined now."

In 2011, Perez made his first All-Star team and finished with 36 saves despite a tendon injury in his elbow he didn't reveal until spring training this year. Without his best stuff, Perez was forced to adapt. He learned how to pitch instead of just throwing heat.

If he allows a hit, Perez shrugs it off.

"This is going to sound bad, but it's all about cockiness and self-confidence," he said. "I take the mentality that if they get a hit, it's a fluke and it's not going to happen again. If I give up two hits, I think, 'OK, it's really fluky and I'm going to get the next three guys out.'

"I'm not going to lie, some days you don't have it, you don't feel right and the ball is nowhere I want it to go. What are you going to do? Cry? No, you've got to get the next guy."

Boiling over
The anger had been bubbling in Perez for weeks.

Rows of empty green seats, dwarfing filled ones by a 3-to-1 margin inside Progressive Field, irked him. The Indians were in first place and Cleveland didn't seem to care. The Indians, who once sold out 455 consecutive home games, are last in the majors in attendance, averaging about 2,500 fewer fans than the next-lowest team.

So, two days after being booed during a save at home, Perez unloaded on fans for their lack of support.

He needed to vent, and vent he did.

"I just didn't understand all the negativity," he said a few weeks later. "It's three years of seeing empty seats. We had met everyone's criteria. We were in first and playing good ball. What's your excuse now? There's no excuse. That was my whole thing. It was just building up and that one outing against Seattle was the ultimate slap in the face. Really, you guys are booing me? You don't fill the stadium and you're booing me?

"I got mad and I just went off. I tried to do it the best way possible. It was in the heat of the moment, but it was all from the heart."

It was a public relations nightmare for the Indians, but Perez stuck to his comments and found a lot of support after the initial firestorm.
"Maybe I woke up the echoes, and that's cool," he said. "That wasn't my intent, but it seemed to work."

Sure enough, the next time Perez pitched he was greeted by a standing ovation, a moment he called "humbling." He wasn't sure what to expect but was glad Cleveland, a place he seems to embody, had his back.

"I bring it every day," he said. "I got hurt in spring training and worked hard to get ready for opening day, and that didn't go very well, but I got back to the grindstone and that's what Cleveland is. My job isn't easy, but at the same time, I wouldn't want to be doing anything else."

The hubbub about Perez's comments barely had quieted when he caused another ruckus.

During an outing against Kansas City last week, Perez struck out Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson and celebrated by waving his hand in front of his face, a "You can't see me" move popularized by pro wrestling star John Cena.

It wasn't Perez's first run-in with the Royals. After two bench-clearing incidents between the team in April, Perez tweeted, "You hit us, we hit you. Period." He was fined $750 by MLB for demonstrating "a reckless disregard for the safety of the players on both clubs."

Perez wasn't fazed. He has no plans to change his ways. If he records a big strikeout or save, he's going to pump his fist, scream and let his emotions flow.

"If it takes me doing stuff like that to get me pumped up, so be it," he said. "I play for my team, my teammates. If they're the only 25 guys in the league who like me, that's fine. But I know that's not the case. I've got former teammates on other teams, and they know how I am.

"I've been doing this kind of stuff since college. Honestly. That's just how I am."

Music man
When he was 10, Perez's parents divorced and he moved in with his father.

"Bachelors eating dinner in our underwear watching baseball," he said.

Living in Florida, Tim Perez took his son to Rays games and drove him to various spring training camps. Along with teaching his boy the game, the elder Perez made sure his son learned never to back down -- from anyone. His father also broadened Perez's musical tastes, which includes an affinity for '70s classic rock.

"I was born 30 years too late," joked Perez, who posts a song of the day on his Twitter page.

Music helps define him. His mother, Julie, turned him on to the Beatles and his late grandmother, Pat Fleming, cleaned her house listening to Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon."

Since college, Perez has made his way in from the bullpen with Prodigy's "Firestarter" blaring through the stadium speakers, the song's whaling guitar intro followed by a frenetic drumbeat that perfectly suits his potent personality as well as his powerful pitching style.

It motivates Perez to finish a game started by others.

He plays the final notes.

As for rock's best closer, Perez said there's only one band he would hand the ball. His favorite.

"It's Led Zeppelin, because they rocked hard," he said. "They brought it every day and never took a performance off. It's Jimmy Page doing some kind of solo with John Bonham because you've got to have the drums. You don't know how long it's going to last, but you know it's going to be good."

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Chris Perez Saves Game, Throws Up



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Tweet of the Day: Chris Perez on measuring “heart and balls”

Indians’ closer and proCane Chris Perez woke up this morning and had some thoughts about sabermetrics:

“Saber metrics are good for some stats, but you will never be able to quantify a players' heart and balls”

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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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Chris Perez appears to be 'the one that got

QUESTION: The Indians head to town tomorrow night and bring along Chris Perez, who leads the American League in saves with 19. Back in 2009 when the Cardinals traded Perez to Cleveland for Mark DeRosa, did you envision him eventually having the kind of success he is now?

Perez was an All-Star last season but was better in 2010, his first full season in Cleveland. The Cardinals opted to move Perez rather than Jason Motte for Mark DeRosa partly because of uncertainty about Perez’ ability to handle the pressure of closing. Perez has answered forcefully, albeit not yet in a pennant race. Perez has saved 78 games the last three seasons. He was the first draftee of the Luhnow Era to reach the majors and the only Cardinals pick in that time to become an All-Star.
Did I see this coming? Not in STL because I questioned whether he would get the chance. Not yet 27, Perez has a chance for some prolific career numbers because of his early exposure to the role. A marginal walk-strikeout role seems his most obvious blemish but that, too, has improved this season. Right now he appears to be “the one that got away.”

Sure. Of all the players the Cardinals drafted back then, Chris Perez was perhaps the easiest to project into a role. A closer in college, Perez was a closer throughout the minors, and when he reached the majors it was clear he had a closer’s repertoire, a closer’s power, and that less tangible closer’s mentality. The gravitational pull between him and the ninth was obvious. The only question was where. The answer came when the Cardinals decided to keep Jason Motte, trade Perez, and let him find the saves he was bound to collect in Cleveland.

At the time, both Perez and Motte suggested they might have futures as closers because they threw hard and threw strikes. The rub was whether one or both would develop a secondary pitch and it appears that both have. The downside of making the trade with Cleveland was not so much that Perez got away but that DeRosa was hampered physically, almost from the moment he got here.

Chris Perez was clearly destined to become a major league closer. At the time the Cards had a closer and apparent closers-in-waiting, so the deal for Mark DeRosa made sense. Had DeRosa stayed healthy and re-signed in St. Louis, it might still make sense. But DeRosa broke down, Perez developed as expected and Cardinal Nation came to greatly regret his departure.

KEVIN WHEELER (Host of “Sports Open Line” on KMOX)
Absolutely. He’s always had two swing and miss pitches, an fearless attitude and experience at the position going back to college. The one thing he was missing in his early days with the Cardinals was command, but that has really come along. In fact, his walk rate has gone down every season since he debuted with the Cardinals during the 2008 season and that is directly linked to the success he’s having now.
I spoke to him on Wednesday as a preview for the Cardinals-Indians series this weekend and he said the very same thing, acknowledging that his command needed improvement when he broke in with the Cards. Perez also said that he’s refined his approach to attacking hitters. He remains aggressive but also says he’s more conscious of which hitters can do more damage than others. That maturity has given him the ability to turn “stuff” into results.

LARRY BOROWSKY (Editor of the “Viva El Birdos 2012 Baseball Annual&rdquoWinking
Yes, I did.  Perez has always had the repertoire of a prototypical closer – explosive fastball, hard slider – and the hyperaggressive attitude to match. He has never been any fun to hit against. He held minor-league batters to an average of about .180, while recording more than twice as many strikeouts (151) as hits allowed (61). As a Cardinal he held big-league opponents to a .215 average and fanned over a batter an inning. Perez hadn’t fully transitioned from thrower to pitcher at the time the Cards dealt him, but the markers of potential dominance were always there.
I was sorry to see Perez go but thought (and still think) it was a defensible trade because the Cardinals were dealing from a position of strength. Despite losing Perez, they had Jason Motte, Eduardo Sanchez, Mitchell Boggs, Fernando Salas, and others in the majors or the high minors in mid-2009. They felt the makings of a good bullpen were in place even without Perez.  Although that assessment looks a little shaky at the moment, it may yet prove accurate.

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Chris Perez converts 18th save

Chris Perez allowed a run but picked up his 18th save in Tuesday's win over the Tigers.

A Brennan Boesch sac fly followed a single and double in the ninth inning, but Perez then got Ramon Santiago to fly out to end it. Perez hasn't blown a save since his meltdown on Opening Day, converting 18 in a row to lead all of baseball.

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Chris Perez walks fine line with outgoing personality

CLEVELAND -- The colorful closer and the legendary leadoff man crossed paths outside the Cleveland clubhouse the other day.

It was not what you'd call a cordial encounter.

Chris Perez, you see, had recently uttered some choice words about an Indians fan base that he deemed to be too fickle and too negative for his liking. And Kenny Lofton, member in good standing of the Indians' alumni base, had gone on a local radio show and offered a few choice words of his own about Perez, essentially saying, "He just doesn't get it."

So when Lofton passed Perez and extended his hand and a greeting, Perez walked right past him without uttering a word.

Asked about it after the fact, Perez said, in effect, "If you're going to say that stuff about me on air, don't try to be nice to me in person."

And Lofton, unexpectant of such an encounter, could only look back in amazement at the brash young man who just blew him off.

"Really?" said Lofton, his mouth agape. "Wow."

Perez has been getting that kind of reaction a lot lately.

We're talking here about the first player fined for violating MLB's social media policy, after writing to the Royals, "You hit us, we hit you. Period." A player whose fist pumps and primal screams have offended the opposition. A player whose public sentiments about getting booed by his home fans and the small attendance tallies at Progressive Field became the biggest Tribe talking point in recent memory. And a player who, just this week, made a WWE hand gesture -- "You can't see me" was, apparently, the message behind the wave of the hand over the face -- after striking out Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson.

All this boldness, all this brazenness, all this brutal honesty has made Perez -- who goes by the nickname "Pure Rage" -- something of a polarizing figure.

In a sport that values, more than most, respect of the game and of the opponent, and in an era in which clichéd quotes and media training sessions are the status quo, Perez is an outlaw.

And his "antics," as one opponent called them, have caused some consternation in opposing clubhouses and, yes, even his own. One member of the Indians organization quipped that Perez's comments should all come with the television-ready caveat that "the opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the club."

Perez's take? This is a game. Let's have some fun with it.

"I'm doing something that I've wanted to do since I was 4 years old," said Perez, who has converted 17 straight save opportunities since blowing one on Opening Day. "And I'm doing it all right, right now. So I'm going to enjoy it."

Suffice to say, his critics aren't enjoying it at all.

"That's just a sorry guy looking to be loved," Royals catcher Brayan Peña told the Kansas City Star this week. "Nobody pays any attention to him, so he has to do stuff like that. You don't see guys who people know, guys like Mariano Rivera, do that, do you?"

Well, no, you don't. But such statements don't rattle Perez in the least.

The notion of the quirky, cocksure closer has become something of a cliché in and of itself, yet lately the 26-year-old Perez has been taking that posture to another plane. And if recent fan reaction is any indication, it's actually won him some followers.

Two weeks ago, in the midst of a rant about getting booed by his home crowd for putting two runners on base in a save against the Mariners, Perez called the fact that the then-first-place Indians ranked last in the Majors in attendance "a slap in the face" and "embarrassing."
Honesty, indeed.

"That's just how I am," Perez said. "I learned that from my dad. My dad's a small business owner. When he did a good job, he expected to get paid and for the other person to honor the contract. When that didn't happen, he stood up for his rights. I was in his office a lot of times when he chewed people out. He didn't back down. He stood up for himself."

What did Perez's version of standing up for himself and his team earn him?

His next trip to the mound was met with a standing ovation.

"It seems to have worked," he said. "I've heard from a lot of people who said, 'We needed to be called out for being so-called great fans.' Because that's what we always hear is, 'Oh, in the '90s, we sold out [455 straight games].' Well, we haven't seen it. We don't believe it until we see it. Good or bad, people are responding to what I said."

And Perez has backed up his words by offering up three pairs of tickets to every home game to fans through his Twitter account.

But one thing he said in that rant was that Indians fans don't have it nearly as bad as fans of the Royals and Pirates, who "haven't won anything in 20 years." Dyson heard that remark and told his friend Tony Sipp, an Indians reliever, that he wasn't happy about it. Sipp relayed the message to Perez, who did the hand gesture when he put Dyson away in Monday's game and performed an exaggerated celebration when he completed the save.

"Different players have different ways that they act," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Mike Maddux used to say to our pitchers in Milwaukee, 'You never want to give the opposition any more reason to beat you.' But some players have a lot of energy, and they display it."

How long Perez can effectively back up all this energy remains to be seen. His string of saves is indeed impressive, and he's a big reason the Indians, currently besieged by injuries in their lineup, are four games over .500.

But within the Tribe clubhouse, there is some concern that Perez has earned the Indians more enemies than they're comfortable with.

"There is a line," Perez allowed. "I don't think I've crossed it yet. Some people may disagree with me, but I'm just having fun out there."

Just don't ask him to pal around with Kenny Lofton.

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Chris Perez's gesture fuels Indians-Royals rivalry

CLEVELAND -- Defiant Cleveland closer Chris Perez has thrown some gas on the simmering rivalry between the Indians and Kansas City Royals.
The animated Perez angered Kansas City's Jarrod Dyson for a gesture he made after striking out the Royals outfielder in the ninth inning of Cleveland's 8-5 win on Monday.

After fanning Dyson on three pitches, Perez walked off the mound and waved his hand in front of his face to mock Dyson, who was unaware of the gesture until seeing it later on videotape.

"It's just terrible," Dyson said. "Nobody told me about it. As soon as I got done with my at-bat, I went down to see where the pitch was because I felt like the pitch was in and I saw him do that and it (ticked) me off even more."

It's the latest incident involving Perez, who recently criticized Indians fans for their lack of support and was fined earlier this season by Major League Baseball for an inappropriate tweet after the teams had a contentious series in Kansas City.

Perez said teammate Tony Sipp, who is friends with Dyson, had told him the Royals weren't happy with some of the comments and they were "coming for me."

During Monday's game, Perez promised his teammates in the bullpen that if he struck out Dyson he would make the "you can't see me" gesture popularized by pro wrestler John Cena.

Perez said before Tuesday's game that the gesture was in response to what Dyson told Sipp.

"That's the only reason I did it," Perez said. "I said, 'All right, you're coming for me, I'm coming for you.' If I strike you out, you're going to get the 'can't see me face.'

"What happened? Three pitches. You can't see me," he said.

Dyson said he was already looking forward to his next matchup against Perez, who leads the majors with 17 saves.

"I can't wait to face him again," Dyson said. "I want to beat him. That's the good part of this game, you get to go back and try to beat a guy, beat a team. If I had seen it, I would have said something, probably jumped out of character. Usually, that's not me. Though that's not how our organization is.

"But that's the game. When you win, you can say what you want," Dyson added. "They beat us. We lost. We have nothing to say. You lose, you shut up and go out and try to beat them. Then you can have something to say."

Perez wasn't troubled that Dyson didn't appreciate his actions.

"If he took offense to it, oh well," Perez said. "It happened and it's the same as when a hitter hits a home run and they come back to the dugout and do all their hand-slapping stuff. We see that as pitchers and we don't take offense to it because he just hit a home run."

Dyson chalked up Perez's antics to "him just being him."

"I think that's just the way he is. That's just him. If he needs that to get motivated, whatever. It was a little bit of disrespect," Dyson said. "I guess he felt good striking me out. It's not like he struck out Albert Pujols."

Perez has been known to let loose with a primal scream after getting a save or pumping his fists in celebration. While it may annoy and even anger some of his opponents, the rebellious right-hander said he does it to motivate himself.

"(Winning) definitely gives me some leeway to do what I do," he said. "Nobody wants to hear this from a last-place team. I mean, who cares, you're in last place. You talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. We're in first place right now, and it's fun. I know that, if I'm blowing saves, I can't do that stuff, either.

"I'm enjoying this. This is fun," Perez continued. "It's not very often you can go on a streak like this, especially in the big leagues, and pitch as well as I have been. Not trying to pump myself up, but it's fun."

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Chris Perez becomes fan favorite after blasting fans

CLEVELAND: The fans are in love with Chris Perez. All he has to do is trot in from the bullpen in the ninth inning, and the crowd at Progressive Field goes wild.

The next time he blows a save — if he ever does — maybe things will be different. But ever since he ratted out the fans for not showing up in sufficient numbers, Perez has been the chosen one — by the fans he scolded. Go figure.

He delivered his 16th save of the season Thursday, giving up a hit but otherwise handling the Detroit Tigers with aplomb, as the Indians eked out a 2-1 win.

Ever since his first rant on Saturday, Perez has been getting standing ovations for merely showing his face.

“If I had blown that save [on Saturday], I still would be going out and doing my job the next day,” he said. “But I don’t think I’d have gotten the same recognition.

“Who doesn’t want to get cheered? That’s why we play. We want to interact with the fans. We’re like actors in a Broadway play. They get energy from the crowd.”

When Perez walked to the players parking lot after Saturday’s game, 20 fans were waiting for him outside the gate. That’s when he decided to give something back. He is awarding six tickets per game to fans who answer a trivia question on his Twitter account.

Thursday’s question: Who was the opposing manager when Perez earned his first save for the Tribe? The answer: Joe Torre of the New York Yankees.

Perez can’t understand why ESPN and other national media outlets haven’t paid much attention to the Indians, who have been in first place most of the season.

“They [ESPN] do their thing; they cover the Yankees and the Red Sox, and they tell people how bad the Angels are,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of star power. We just have a good team.”

Perez insists there was no more to his rant about the fans than a desire to express his feelings, but there have been some unintended consequences.

“I had no ulterior motive,” he said. “I just wanted to get something off my chest. Could it be a unifying factor for the team? That could be. I think we have some swagger now.”

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Chris Perez puts exclamation point on amazing week

CLEVELAND, Ohio — When Chris Perez stood on the mound in the ninth inning, he felt it.

The Tribe closer knew he was three outs away from something special, three outs away from his team sweeping three games from the Detroit Tigers.

"I thought about how we were so close to beating Verlander," said Perez after he saved the Tribe's 2-1 victory over Detroit.

Verlander is Justin Verlander, both the American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner last year. Verlander is a guy who entered the day 9-1 with a 2.89 ERA in his last 12 starts against the Tribe.

In the eighth inning, Verlander was throwing pitches that went from 98 to 102 mph – and those were pitches 110 and above for the game – yet Perez was in position to wrap up this game in Wahoo red, white and blue with three more outs.

Perez also thought about how Justin Masterson had held the Tigers to one run in seven innings. And how Shin-Soo Choo said hello to Verlander's third pitch of the game with an outrageous 457-foot homer into the second deck in right field.

"I'm a guy with one pitch," said Masterson. "He [Verlander] has four Hall of Fame pitches."

Perez so wanted this game for Masterson, who matched Verlander pitch-for-pitch, if not mile-for-mile on the radar gun.

Perez also thought about Michael Brantley slapping a single, stealing second base. He scored on a superb single to right field by Jose Lopez, who found a way not to be overpowered by Verlander.

There also was Lopez bobbling a grounder at third base, yet recovering in time to throw out a Tiger runner at home plate. There was a superb 6-4-3 double play pulled off by the Tribe, and there was Vinnie Pestano pitching a scoreless eighth inning for the third time in three days.

"I was sitting in the bullpen, just watching us playing a great game," said Perez.

And he didn't want to blow it.

Not on this day, against this team and in front of this crowd of 23,622 – which was standing and stomping and screaming and clapping as Perez entered the game in the top of the ninth.

"You can feel something special happening here," said Perez. "These fans have been great to me. I'll never forget this week."

It was last weekend when Perez ripped the fans for a lack of support and a general negative attitude. He feared a severe backlash, but discovered more support than slams from fans. At the ballpark, he was greeted with standing ovations in all three games against Detroit.

With the ball in his hands and the game on his broad shoulders, he didn't want to let anyone down. Not teammates, not the fans, not himself. He knew the impact of his two days of comments about the Tribe having baseball's lowest attendance, and that some critics would be hoping he'd fail.

"There was some extra pressure," he admitted. "But I also think what happened brought extra energy. I knew I had to do my job in these games."

And he did it, 1-2-3.

Not 1-2-3 innings, but 1-2-3 saves in three games against the defending Central champions.

Suddenly, the Indians are 15-9 in May, and were 6-2 on this homestand. They lead the Tigers by six games and are 26-18.

They are playing beautiful baseball – what Manny Acta and others call "Wahoo Baseball." They don't make errors, they are 10-2 in one-run games. They get solid starting pitching and reliable relief work. Perez and Pestano have been so dominating in the eighth and ninth innings, that the Tribe is 20-1 when it has a lead after seven.

"It's building here," said Perez. "ESPN can talk about the Yankees and Red Sox, we'll do our thing."

And they are doing it very, very well.

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Chris Perez wants to stay

CLEVELAND -- Chris Perez wants to stay in Cleveland, even if he is at odds with some Indians fans.

"I'm unhappy, but don't want out," the All-Star closer said Tuesday before the start of a three-game series against Detroit.

After several days of chastising local fans for not attending games, Perez said he is not looking to play anywhere else, emphasizing that he believes the Indians are in playoff contention.

"There's a saying in baseball: If you don't like it play better," he said. "I want to stay here. My friends are here. I like it here. I'm not out, I'm in."

Perez said that he wouldn't be doing everything he can to help the Indians if he didn't believe they could start capturing the city's interest.

"I wouldn't be signing the autographs, taking the time to bother," the 26-year-old said. "I wouldn't be pitching my butt off, I'd tank to get out. I'm never going to do something like that."

Perez is 0-1 with 13 consecutive saves after blowing a lead on Opening Day, when the booing started. He said he is more upset at the lack of attendance -- Cleveland is last in the majors -- and overall apathy than home fans getting on him.

After striking out the side on 10 pitches Saturday to save a win over Miami, the usually jovial reliever reacted angrily. He joked that his performance was spurred on by being booed in previous games, then got a bit more terse and pointed out that to him, Cleveland's low attendance was an embarrassment and kept the organization from attracting free agents.

The following day, he met with team president Mark Shapiro and general manager Chris Antonetti, but did not back off his remarks.

"The shame is it takes my comments to get national attention for our team," Perez said.

He then took a backhanded swipe at the town's infatuation with the NFL's Browns during spring activities, rather than the Indians.

"I could care less who is taking snaps at Browns quarterback," Perez said.

Asked if he didn't like football, he replied, "I would if I played football or if my team made the playoffs."

The Browns have been to the postseason once since returning to the NFL in 1999.

Perez said feedback was "overall positive" to his comments. He produced two cards written to him by season-ticket holders thanking him for "saying what we've been saying for years."

He said he wasn't worried about getting booed the next time he enters a game at Progressive Field.

"If I go 1-2-3, they'll cheer me," he said. "If I don't, they will boo. So what? I'm booed on the road. I'll treat it like a road game."

Perez has saved all eight road games he has appeared in this season, not allowing an earned run.

The right-hander now wants to wrap up the discussion.

"It's off my chest," Perez said. "Now it is back to work and playing baseball."

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Chris Perez follows rant against Cleveland fans with even better rant against Cleveland fans

Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez was in a chatty mood over the weekend. He first made headlines on Saturday by ripping the Tribe fans who booed him earlier in the week and by saying no free agents want to come and play in front of an empty ballpark.

Then, lest any of his pointed comments get lost in the weekend media cycle, Perez came right back on Sunday by putting on another rant for any media member who might not have been around for the first one. In five passion-filled minutes that reminded me a little of Lee Elia in its spirit (minus the intensity and profanity), the 26-year-old stood by his initial comments.

For one, Perez finds it "embarrassing" that the first-place Indians rank dead last in attendance (with an average of 15,872 fans per game, they're nowhere close to 29th-place Oakland, which averages 19,573 per game).

For another, he can't understand why the prevailing mood in Cleveland isn't one of  hope or at least enjoyment considering the Indians hold a 2 1/2-game lead over second-place Chicago. (Perez isn't the only one in town who feels this way as Paul Cousineau of The DiaTribe just wrote a great post about fellow fans who are only focusing on the time when the other shoe will drop.)

Here are some of the comments that Perez made on Sunday. As you can tell, he held absolutely nothing back (and remember that this is just a sampling of what he said):

• "I expected the (backlash from Saturday's comments), but I really don't care any more. I'm here to do my job and play for this team. If the fans come, they'll come. If they don't, it'll be just like it was in April. So who cares?"

• "It's not a good atmosphere (at Progressive Field). It's not fun to be here ... Baseball's still supposed to be fun. At the end of the day, this is a game. It's a child's game, I understand that. But if you have a choice to go to some place like Philadelphia, where every day it's fun just to go there. That helps you get through some seasons some times."

• "I was in Florida in '97 when (Cleveland) lost the World Series to the Marlins. I saw the atmosphere here. It's great. It's a good baseball town. I don't know how to get back to that. Everyone says, 'winning, winning.' Well, we were in first place for three months last year. We come out strong this year, so obviously it's not a fluke ... This year is a different year. If, at the end, you don't want to get your heart broken, then we don't want you."

• "I'm not stupid, I understand the economy's bad around here. I understand that people can't afford to come to the game. But there doesn't need to be the negativity. I don't understand the negativity, why? Like, enjoy what we have. You have a first place team. How many third-place towns in the country would want that right now?"

• "We could be in last place. We could be the Royals, we could be the Pirates. Haven't won anything in 20 years. We're not. Enjoy it. I don't understand the negativity."

• "(My teammates) feel the same way. They just won't say it."

• "It's just a slap in the face when you're last in attendance. Last. It's not like we're 25th or 26th. We're last. Oakland's outdrawing us. That's embarrassing."

As someone who watched last Thursday's extra-innings win over the Seattle Mariners and wondered where all the fans were, I'm glad that Perez is speaking up so passionately about this subject. It really has to galvanize the loyal Indians fans who are showing up to Progressive Field and remain hopeful the team can win its first division title since 2007. As any fan knows, it's nice to see that a player cares as much as you do. And who knows? Maybe estranged fans will see that Perez cares so much and will be willing to come out to the park now.

Perez is also right in another regard: What has he got to lose? Either the Indians are a young team playing exciting baseball in front of a full house or they're a young team playing exciting baseball in front of an empty one. If Cleveland fans can't get over past disappointments or the fact that the Dolans own the team, it's going to be their own loss — not a defeat for Perez or his teammates.

Finally, here's the best part: As Perez noted on Twitter, he's putting his money where his mouth is and will give away three sets of tickets to each remaining home game to make sure he's doing his part. With a guy like that on the roster and the team in first place, how could Cleveland fans not want to give the team a little longer leash than usual?

Here's the press conference in its entirety (starting around the 1:30 mark):

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Chris Perez talks about season so far, his yelling, Alex Rios and his jersey giveaway

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Alex Rios upset with Indians closer Chris Perez over fist pumping

Anyone who watches baseball knows that closers are their own breed. Many of these guys are weird, and they aren’t afraid to show it. Like many closers before him, Cleveland’s Chris Perez is one of the more animated players in the game. On Thursday night, Alex Rios took exception to that as Perez closed out a 7-5 win over Chicago.

According to, Perez got the benefit of a borderline third-strike call to A.J. Pierzynski for the second out of the ninth inning and gave a strong fist pump. He then got Rios to ground into the game’s final out, which led to more celebrating and a heated exchange between him and the White Sox outfielder.

“Well, I don’t know what was wrong with him,” Rios said with a smirk after the game. “He just started yelling for no reason. I don’t know why he started yelling, and that’s it.

“When I hit that ground ball, he was yelling when (Cabrera) was throwing to first. He was yelling the whole way. I couldn’t tell what he was saying. He was just staring and saying something.”

Perez said he was yelling at his teammates because he was happy they came up with a crucial win and that his animation was not directed toward Rios — not that he cares what Rios thinks anyway.

“He’s on a different team,” Perez said. “I’m not friends with him. I don’t know him personally. I’ve just been playing against him. That’s it. If he’s mad, whatever. I don’t care.”

The more it bothers opponents, the happier guys like Perez are with their antics. The best thing Rios can do is pretend it doesn’t affect him.

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Interview with closer Chris Perez

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Chris Perez reaches double-digits in saves

Cleveland Indians RP Chris Perez worked a perfect 12-pitch ninth inning Friday, May 4, against the Texas Rangers for his 10th save of the season. After blowing his first save chance of the season April 5, Perez has converted 10 straight save chances and allowed just one earned run in 11 innings over the past 12 appearances.

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Chris Perez navigating the closers' tar pit

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Through one-plus month of the baseball season, closing has proven hazardous to the mental and physical health. If closers are not getting rocked, they are tearing ACLs while shagging fly balls in batting practice.

The Indians have been fortunate. Not only has their closer survived, he has thrived. Chris Perez has 10 saves in 11 opportunities and a 3.09 ERA after Friday's 6-3 victory over Texas. Since a rocky appearance on Opening Day, when he gave up three runs in two-thirds of an inning in a blown save against Toronto, he has allowed one run in 11 innings of 12 appearances.

While Perez has lived up to his All-Star status of last season, a number of his peers has had all sorts of issues. Here is a sampling of what already has befallen closers:

Mariano Rivera, Yankees: The greatest ever suffered a torn ACL and meniscus in his right knee during batting practice Thursday at Kansas City. He was tracking a fly ball hit by former Indian Jayson Nix. Rivera, 42, is a 12-time All-Star.

Brian Wilson, Giants: The three-time All-Star underwent Tommy John surgery in April, the second such surgery of his career.

Joakim Soria, Royals: The two-time All-Star injured his right elbow in spring training and underwent reconstructive surgery.

Sergio Santos, Blue Jays: He was placed on the disabled list April 21 because of right-shoulder inflammation. He is 2-for-4 in save chances and owns a 9.00 ERA in six games.

Carlos Marmol, Cubs: He entered Friday at 2-for-4 and owned a 6.23 ERA in 12 games. He was replaced as closer this week.

Heath Bell, Marlins: He entered Friday at 3-for-6 and owned an 11.74 ERA in 10 games. He went 43-for-48 last year with San Diego.

J.J. Putz, Diamondbacks: He entered Friday at 5-for-7 and owned a 6.48 ERA in nine games. He went 45-for-49 last year.

Jose Valverde, Tigers: He entered Friday at 4-for-5 and owned a 5.59 ERA in 10 games. In the 2011 regular season, he was 49-for-49 and had a 2.24 ERA.

Alfredo Aceves, Red Sox: He entered Friday at 5-for-7. In the two blown saves, he gave up eight runs.

Perez did not need to be informed as to how difficult it has been for closers this season.

"We're sort of a fraternity,'' he said. "We feel for each other, because we understand how short people's memories can be. You're always one or two bad streaks away from them calling for your job. And that's how it should be. When you have the lead after eight innings, you've got to win those games.''

Nothing to see here: Perez does not care what a TV replay might suggest or what White Sox outfielder Alex Rios says. Perez reiterated Friday afternoon that he directed no ill will toward Rios at the end of Thursday night's game in Chicago.

As Rios grounded to Asdrubal Cabrera for what was to become the final out of a 7-5 Tribe victory, Perez is seen turning toward the first-base line and yelling. As Rios runs to first, Perez's head follows him.

Rios reached the bag and immediately turned. He flapped his arms and barked at Perez.

"When I was running to first, he was yelling the whole way,'' Rios told reporters. "I don't know what was wrong with him. He just started yelling at me. For no reason. I couldn't tell what he was saying; he was just staring and saying something.''

Perez said he simply was pleased that the Indians prevailed.

"I wasn't talking anything to Rios,'' he said. "I couldn't care less if it was he or (A.J.) Pierzynski or (Paul) Konerko -- whoever made the last out, I was going to do the same thing. It was for the team. We had just won a series on the road.''

Perez maintained that his look toward the first-base line only was to follow the ball into first baseman Casey Kotchman's glove.

"When I knew Cabby had it, I yelled, '(Expletive), yeah! Game's over!''' Perez said. "I watched the ball go to first, then Rios spun on me. I said, 'What? The game's over. What's your problem?'''

Rios said: "If you are celebrating, that's not the right way to do it.''

Rios said he has no history with Perez -- but he does have a walkoff grand slam against him. On Sept. 10, 2011, Rios's blast with one out in the 10th inning gave the White Sox a 7-3 victory.

"Rios was happy after he hit that homer, as he should be,'' Perez said. "And I had a right to be happy after we won a series in their place.''
Give him his due: Count Perez and his teammates among those pleased that Rivera has vowed to return next season. Rivera is MLB’s all-time saves leader with 608.

“You want to see him keep going, for all that he’s meant to the game,” Perez said. “As an athlete, you always want to go out on your own terms and not because you’re not good enough or because of injury.”

Tribe left fielder Johnny Damon said: “He’s one of the greatest pitchers of all time — not just relievers.”

Damon, who played with Rivera in New York, said the closer always has enjoyed running down balls in batting practice.

“For the past 17 years, he probably was the best center fielder the Yankees had,” Damon said. “That’s how good of a shagger he was.”

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Chris Perez, Sox's Rios exchange words

CHICAGO -- As Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez started to celebrate his team’s 7-5 win on Thursday night, Chicago White Sox outfielder Alex Rios took exception.

Believing that the demonstrative closer was yelling at him, Rios wasn’t so quick to leave the field. Instead he stared down Perez and began to shout in his direction.

Even as the dust of Chicago’s loss settled, Rios was still somewhat flummoxed.

“I don’t know what was wrong with him,” Rios said. “He just started yelling … for no reason. … When I hit the ground ball and I was running to first, he was yelling (at me) the whole way.”

The brief exchange between the two players escalated no further than a few words, however.

“I couldn’t tell what he was saying, he was just staring and saying something,” Rios said after the game. “If he was celebrating, that is not the right way to do it.”

Perez had a different take on the final out of the game.

“He might of thought I was yelling at him,” Perez said. “I wasn’t. I was yelling at my teammates, happy about the win.

According to both players, there was no past incident or bad blood between them prior to Thursday’s game.

“The only history we have is I gave up a grand slam to him last year,” Perez said. “He is a competitor, I am a competitor. He is on a different team. I am not friends with him. If he is mad I don’t care.”

The two teams play a four-game series in Cleveland beginning on Monday.

“You can use that as motivation in some way,” Rios said. “But let’s just play ball.”

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Chris Perez closes out White Sox for ninth save

Chris Perez picked up his ninth save of the season, working 2/3 of an inning against the White Sox on Thursday.

The Indians led 7-3 heading into the ninth inning, and it didn't look like Perez' services would be needed. However, after Dan Wheeler surrendered a two-run homer to Adam Dunn, Perez came on to record two easy outs and pick up his ninth save of the season.

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Chris Perez learns and bounces back from Opening Day failure

CLEVELAND: Chris Perez acted like a rookie.

Perez, the Indians’ closer, was way too excited and kind of feeling as if he were facing the biggest situation on the mound he’d ever encountered.
But Perez, a first time All-Star last season, has been around the major leagues long enough to know that although Opening Day is always a big deal, he’s certainly pitched in bigger situations.

So after he blew a three-run lead and the save that led to the Tribe’s 16-inning Opening Day loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, he promptly got over it and went back to being his normal, fun-loving self.

“I wasn’t worried after what happened on Opening Day because it helped knowing I’d been there before, having blown my first [save] opportunity in Double-A,” Perez said. “I know it’s just Double-A, but it’s still experience you can go back to. After I blew that save, I reeled off 34 in a row, so I’ve been there. I’ve blown it, had my back against the wall and recovered.”

In fact, Perez, 26, and the Tribe bullpen are a big reason the Indians are in first place going into a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox that starts tonight at U.S. Cellular Field.

Since the Opening Day disaster, Perez (0-0, 4.00 ERA) has been perfect. He’s saved each of his seven opportunities since, tying him for first among American League closers. Perez has held the opposition to one run in 8 innings and opponents are hitting .161 against him in his past nine games.

“It starts from the top, the closer, and trickles down,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “If your top guy is doing good, then the rest of the guys just seem to fall into line. For Chris, he was right back out there right away and it didn’t even take him two outings to recover.”

Last year, in his first full season as the Tribe’s closer, Perez converted 36-of-40 save opportunities to rank fourth in the American League in saves and save percentage (90 percent). He saved 16 consecutive games from May 1 through July 15 and already ranks fifth in club history with 67 saves.

In spring training, Perez talked about how good he felt, better than he had all the previous season while dealing with a nagging arm injury.

Then he suffered a strained left oblique that kept him from making his first spring outing until right at the end of camp on March 29.

So when he blew his first save opportunity of 2012 in front of a Progressive Field crowd of 43,190, there were whispers that perhaps he was still hurt.

Maybe Perez was rushed back too soon. Maybe he should have gone on a minor-league rehab outing first to make sure he wasn’t rusty. Maybe his mechanics were out of whack from sitting out so long.

The worst part for Perez wasn’t the blown save. He knows he’s not going to be perfect all season. The worst part was what happened afterward, the game dragging on through seven extra innings before Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia hit a three-run homer that helped to end the longest Opening Day game in big-league history.

“I don’t know what it was that day, I just wasn’t myself,” Perez said. “It was my first inning of the year and the first two guys hit rockets right back at me. You start thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m going to have to try to trick ’em today.’ Instead of just trusting your stuff and saying, ‘I have good stuff, I’ll just come back and get ’em.’ ”

The time before the Indians joined Perez in the locker room gave him plenty of time to stew over his mistakes. Plenty of time to dress, shower and leave before the media arrived in front of his locker, wanting to recount the details of how and why he’d blown it.

Instead, Perez was patiently waiting for everyone, wanting to be there for his teammates and stand up to the media to take responsibility for the mess he’d left.

“It was a three-run lead but I still let everything just kind of speed up on me,” Perez said. “I just never recovered in time. Suddenly, two guys are on and [Blue Jays slugger Jose] Bautista’s coming up. That’s not how you want to start your first outing.”

Although Perez handled himself with class afterward, he had the need to seek out Acta.

“He’s got such good makeup for that job, the very next day he was over it,” Acta said. “But he still apologized to me a couple days later. Not because he didn’t get the job done, but because he wasn’t able to slow things down. He felt like he acted like a rookie because he was so excited that night.”

Perez knows now that finding a way to harness his excitement is part of his job as a closer.

“The closer’s job is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately? role,” he said. “Even Mariano Rivera, if he goes out there and blows four in a row, people are going to start calling for his job. I might have bought a couple blown saves with what I’ve done in the past, but at the end of the day, you can’t let the team tank because you can’t get three outs. I knew I had to figure out what I did wrong and fix it immediately.”

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Chris Perez struggles, picks up 7th save

Chris Perez struggled in the ninth inning against the Royals on Tuesday, but escaped with his seventh save of the season.

Perez surrendered a run on a couple of hits in this one, but got Jeff Francoeur to ground into a fielder's choice to end the game. He's now saved seven straight after his blow up on Opening Day, and appears safe in the closer's role for the time being.

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Chris Perez strong since opening meltdown

CLEVELAND — When Chris Perez blew a save on Opening Day, Northeast Ohio fans were ready to rip off his Indians uniform and trade him for Luis Valbuena.

Since then, Perez has had six chances to save games and has succeeded six times, allowing no runs, three hits and two walks in 6 1/3 innings. Perez cleaned up on the Tribe’s trip to Kansas City, Seattle and Oakland, picking up five saves, including three on consecutive nights.

So was Perez in danger of being overworked?

“Things even out in the course of the season,” manager Manny Acta said Tuesday. “When your team is losing, the closer is fresh and well rested. If you’re winning, he’s going to have to pitch a lot.”

Perez is 4-for-4 in one-run saves, 1-for-1 in two-run saves, 0-for-1 in three-run saves and 1-for-1 in four-run saves (the tying run was on deck).
“But we manage him so he doesn’t pitch more than three days in a row, unless there’s an emergency. If you’re winning and fatigue becomes an issue, you deal with that,” Acta said.

Most relievers thrive on work. Pitching two or three days in a row can sharpen a closer’s command and usually has little effect on his velocity or the movement of his pitches. Of course, there are exceptions, and even the most durable closer has limits.

But that’s why baseball teams have managers and pitching coaches. All relievers are monitored for signs of a tired arm.

“We look at how many times they’re up, and we go by pitches thrown,” Acta said. “We check with them every day.”

Perez wasn’t the only Tribe reliever to benefit from the nine-game trip that ended Sunday. The relief corps posted an aggregate earned-run average of 0.92 on the trip, giving up just two runs in 19 2/3 innings.

Yet because of an unproductive season-opening homestand, the bullpen ranks 10th in the American League with a 4.58 ERA (down from 6.51).

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Chris Perez may appeal fine

Chris Perez said he may appeal a $750 fine he was given for a tweet following the April 14 dispute between the Indians and Royals.

Perez's tweet read, "Huge team win tonight, time for a sweep of the Royals. It's not 'Our Time,' it's TribeTime. P.S. You hit us, we hit you. Period." Joe Garagiola Jr., MLB's dean of discipline, said the tweet, "demonstrated a reckless disregard for the players on both clubs," but Perez disagrees, also noting that Jack Hannahan was ejected during the game but only was fined $500. "How do you justify that? [Hannahan] got thrown out of the game for being aggressive and instigating and he got fined less than I did?" Perez said. "But I showed reckless disregard for safety? I just don't understand." Perez was not suspended for his actions.

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Chris Perez willing to pay the price for his Tweets

SEATTLE -- A $750 fine is not going to take the Tweet out of Chris Perez.

The Tribe's closer says his Tweeting style isn't going to change and that he may appeal the fine imposed on him by Joe Garagiola Jr., MLB's dean of discipline, stemming from the Tweet he posted following Saturday night's dispute between the Indians and Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

In the letter Perez received from MLB on Wednesday informing him of the fine, Garagiola told Perez he "demonstrated a reckless disregard for the players on both clubs."

"To me that would be saying to the Royals, 'Look out, I'm coming for you. And then hitting somebody. Inciting it,'" said Perez. "Looking back, nothing happened [Sunday]. We played a regular game. Nothing happened the rest of [Saturday], I pitched that night. I don't see where the reckless disregard for the players safety was."

Three Indians were ejected Saturday in the third inning of their 11-9 victory over the Royals -- starting pitcher Jeanmar Gomez, third baseman Jack Hannahan and manager Manny Acta. Gomez was suspended five games and fined for hitting Kansas City's Mike Moustakas after Royals left-hander Jonathan Sanchez hit Shin-Soo Choo in the top of the third. Hannahan was fined $500 and Acta was fined an undisclosed amount.

Gomez and Acta were automatically ejected because warnings had been issued after Choo was hit. Hannahan was ejected for his actions during the two bench-clearing incidents.

"I'm still kind of baffled that I got fined more than someone who got thrown out of the game," said Perez. "How do you justify that? [Hannahan] got thrown out of the game for being aggressive and instigating and he got fined less than I did?

"But I showed reckless disregard for safety? I just don't understand."

Two years ago team president Mark Shapiro embraced Twitter and other social media platforms as a way for the Indians to reach out to their fans. He encouraged players to open accounts. Shapiro, GM Chris Antonetti and Acta have their own accounts.

"For me, I think our players have been extremely responsible and done a good job promoting the team, the game and themselves," said Shapiro. "I look at this as a learning opportunity."

Shapiro said that when he read Perez's Tweet, "I thought that's probably borderline. I think that quote probably would have been disciplined no matter where it appeared."

Here Perez's Tweet: "Huge team win tonight, time for a sweep of the Royals. It's not 'Our Time,' it's TribeTime. P.S. You hit us, we hit you. Period."
The Royals slogan this year is "Our Time." Perez said he read MLB's and the Indians' social media policies. He did not feel he crossed any lines.
"It's freedom of speech," said Perez. "I felt I was within my rights as an American."

Perez is one of several players who have been fined over the last two seasons for what MLB determined to be inappropriate Tweets. When asked what his thoughts were on the subject, Acta said, "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion ... and their own thoughts."

Shapiro believes Twitter represents a good opportunity for the Indians to bond with their fans.

"There will always be a line ... instances that require judgment," he said. "Sometimes mistakes will be made."

Perez, in his own way, agreed with Shapiro's take.

"You have to take the good and the bad," he said. "I don't think it was that bad, unless you're the Royals. But who cares? We're not the Royals. We're not supposed to be friends with them. I don't have any friends on that team and I don't really care for them all that much."

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Chris Perez Fined For Tweet

CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) - Fines, suspensions, tweets. Are the Indians becoming the bad boys of Major League Baseball?

It sure seems that way, as just hours it was announced that pitcher Jeanmar Gomez was hit with a five-game suspension for throwing at the Royals on Saturday night, closer Chris Perez was hit with a fine for throwing out a tweet from the bench during the game.

The Indians closer was hit with the fine according to the Plain Dealers Paul Hoynes, who tweeted out earlier tonight from Seattle the following:
MLB fines Tribe closer Chris Perez for Tweet about Royals following Sat’s melee at Kauffman Stadium. Said he “crossed the line.” #Indians.”

The tweet in question that Perez threw out eluded to “You hit us, we hit you, period.” That of course could be where the crossing of the line came into play for Perez.

The amount of the fine was not disclosed.

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Chris Perez records third save

Chris Perez allowed the Mariners to load the bases in the ninth inning Tuesday, but he rebounded to pick up his third save.

Perez escaped without surrendering the lead in a 9-8 game, but his inning was a whole lot shakier than Vinnie Pestano's eighth, even though Pestano faced the top of the order and Perez got the bottom. Perez has now pitched four scoreless innings since a disastrous blown save on Opening Day.

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Chris Perez defends his Tweet

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Chris Perez wears his emotions on his sleeve and sometimes expresses them in a tweet.

Like Saturday night, after the Indians beat the Royals 11-9 in 10 innings in a game that featured two bench-clearing incidents when Shin-Soo Choo and Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas were hit by pitches.

Perez tweeted the following: "Huge team win tonight; time for a sweep to tell the Royals it's not 'Our Time,' it's Tribe Time. P.S. You hit us, we hit you. Period."

"Our Time" refers to the Royals' 2012 marketing slogan.

When asked about the tweet, the Tribe closer said, "It's the same as when I'm talking to you. I'm not afraid to say what I believe."

Trouble began in the third inning Saturday night, when Jonathan Sanchez hit Choo with a fastball just above the right knee, and Choo had a few words for Sanchez, as players swarmed the field.

Last year, when he was with the Giants, Sanchez broke Choo's left thumb with a pitch, putting Choo on the disabled list for almost seven weeks.
Moustakas led off the Kansas City third and was hit in the back by Jeanmar Gomez. Again benches cleared. Gomez, Jack Hannahan and manager Manny Acta were ejected.

Choo has been hit three times this season and almost was struck a fourth time. Perez's point: Even if no one threw at Choo intentionally, it's time the Indians send a message that recklessly pitching inside will not be tolerated.

"I'm not saying we let this go in the past, but we didn't have the right mindset on our staff," Perez said. "Choo is our No. 3 hitter for a reason. We can't afford to have people come inside (with abandon) and have them think it's no big deal.

"Last night, I don't think Choo was hit on purpose. But that was the straw that broke the camel's back. I've seen him hit six times already (including spring training), and I missed three weeks of camp. So enough is enough."

The book on Choo is to pitch him inside so he can't extend his arms.

"I know the scouting report on Choo," Perez said. "But if they miss, they hit him (and didn't worry about it). Sanchez hit Choo last year, and he lost six weeks of his career. He's not going to get those six weeks back."

Hannahan expressed similar feelings after Saturday night's game.

"If you're going to hit our studs, we're going to hit your studs," he said. "That's the way baseball has always been, and that's the way it should be."

Perez seems to think the Royals might feel bolder because they are considered the Central Division's up-and-coming franchise.

"The way I look at it, they're still behind us," Perez said. "They might be building a better team, but we still think we're better."

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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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Chris Perez Blows First Save Opportunity

Perez blew his first save opportunity of the season Opening Day against the Blue Jays, allowing two runs to score on three hits. He was pulled before he could get the third out of the inning.

Vinnie Pestano replaced Perez and threw 1.1 scoreless innings as the Jays and Indians played into extras. Perez drew just one swinging strike in his 0.2 innings of work, and this is what happens when relief pitchers allow too much contact: they blow saves. This is why many were worried about his sub-6.0 strikeouts per nine innings rate last season, and if he doesn't fix it soon, it could be Pestano closing games in Cleveland instead of Perez.

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Chris Perez Sharp In 2-1 Loss To Reds

GOODYEAR (AP) — Chris Perez is healthy and back as Cleveland’s closer. Sean Marshall now has that role in Cincinnati.

Perez pitched a perfect inning for the Indians in a 2-1 loss to the Reds, after which Reds manager Dusty Baker announced that Marshall will open the year as the closer in place of Ryan Madson, out for the season.

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Chris Perez lights the city's fire: My Cleveland

Once the baseball season begins Thursday, Indians closer Chris Perez will be storming the mound to the strains of "Firestarter" and seeking the final outs in close wins.

Q. How do you feel about being called Pure Rage?
A. I like it. It's not what I try to portray, but it's what I am. I get fired up.'

Q. How do you like being called the Don of the Bullpen Mafia?
A. The first rule of the club is don't talk about the club.

Q. Oh, talk a little.
A. It's a unity thing. Those guys put in most of the work and make me look good.

Q. How's your left oblique coming along?
A. It's been frustrating having to deal with this injury, but it could be worse. I'm feeling really good and am ready for the beginning of the season.

Q. When was your first glimpse of Cleveland?
A. On St. Louis, we played interleague here in 2009. I said, "This city's not bad. The stadium's beautiful." Two weeks later, I got traded here.

Q. Where have you stayed in town?
A. My wife and I lived in Westlake the first year. Last year, we lived in Lakewood, right on the lake, and got more flavor of Cleveland. We'd walk to a diner or a drugstore. This year, we found a place in Rocky River.

Q. Is our weather hard on a Tampa guy like you?
A. The weather's similar and different than Florida. It's similar because it can be bright and sunny, and 20 minutes later there's a thunderstorm.
It's nice here in the summers. Last April, it was overcast a lot, with cold rain. That's hard for anybody.

Q: Can you handle our midges?
A. One night against Oakland, it was pretty bad. A thousand flew up. You just try to block it out.

Q. How's our scenery compare with Florida's?
A. I lived on the water in Florida, so Cleveland reminds me of home. I like how East Ninth Street dips down toward the water. When the sun hits, it's beautiful.

But I'm used to the water being on the west. The lake being north threw me a little.

Q. What else is different here?
A. I like how many pockets of Cleveland are locally owned. People remember your name. It's a hometown feeling. The dry cleaners remember my order. You stay in your community and shop around the corner.

Q. Any game-day superstitions?
A. Nothing, really. I have more of a routine. After the game, coming off the field, I don't step on the baselines. It's a little respect for the field.

Q. Tell us something quirky about a teammate.
A. Roberto Hernandez, he keeps all the price tags on his hats.

Q. Where do you and Melanie grab a bite?
A. My wife and I go to Tremont, to Lucky's. We like their natural food. They have a garden. In Westlake, we'd eat at the Cabin steakhouse.

Q. Where do you go for ice cream?
A. We like Mitchell's. My wife likes cotton candy, and I usually get a "Browns" brownie with cookies and cream and rocky road, or a chocolate peanut butter shake.

Q. Where for fun?
A. We like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I became friends with one of the curators, Jim Henke. We talk baseball and music.

Q. Do you have a favorite local group?
A. The Black Keys in Akron. In the bullpen, Tony Sipp plays Kid Cudi and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.

Q. Where do you take Maxwell?
A. We took him to the park in Lakewood overlooking the lake last year. He hasn't been in the lake yet. He was too young. Maybe this year.

Q. Where do you get haircuts, if ever?
A. I've gotten haircuts in Norwalk, Ohio. The owners of the Christian Roberts spa are big Indians fans.

Q. How do you like Cleveland fans?
A. They're diehards. They're very loyal. They're really hungry for a championship, but they appreciate good effort.

Q. Do you believe in the Cleveland curse?
A. There's just been some bad luck, and that's sports. Eventually it's going to happen, and Clevelanders are going to be really proud.

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Chris Perez breezes through Cactus League debut

Indians closer Chris Perez enjoyed a silky smooth Cactus League debut on Thursday, throwing just five pitches in a hitless inning against the Rockies.’s Jordan Bastian has the full report.

Perez missed most of spring training after suffering a left oblique strain during a late-February bullpen session. But he pitched in two minor league games before Thursday’s debut and is scheduled to make two more Cactus League appearances before the Indians head north next week. The bearded 26-year-old should be completely up to speed by Opening Day.

Perez registered a cool 3.32 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 59 2/3 innings last season while tallying 36 saves.

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Chris Perez on track for Opening Day

MESA, Ariz. -- Indians closer Chris Perez never doubted that he would be ready in time for Opening Day. With the season's first game a little more than a week away, it appears he will indeed meet that goal.

Following a pair of successful outings in Minor League games, Perez is scheduled to make his Cactus League debut when Cleveland hosts the Rockies on Thursday afternoon at Goodyear Ballpark. The left-oblique injury that sidelined the closer early in camp has not caused any lingering issues over the last five weeks.

"He's right on schedule to be ready for Opening Day, unless he has a setback," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "We're going on him. He's feeling good. Our medical staff is on board. His velocity was fine the other day, so we'll go on him outing by outing. But right now, he's on schedule to be ready for Opening Day."

Perez injured his side while working through his first bullpen session of the spring on Feb. 23. He resumed pitching off a mound on March 16 and has since advanced through live batting practice sessions and Minor League games.

The closer said on Wednesday that he has not felt any discomfort in his side since that first mound session.

That being the case, the Indians are expecting their Opening Day bullpen to include Perez, who saved 36 games in 40 chances last year and earned a spot on the American League All-Star team. If Perez were to suffer a setback, Acta has noted that setup man Vinnie Pestano would act as the temporary closer.

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Chris Perez throws hitless inning in minor league game

Good news out of Goodyear, Arizona.

According to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Indians closer Chris Perez tossed a perfect seven-pitch frame Saturday in a minor league exhibition game. It was his first live action of the spring, and it couldn’t have gone smoother.

Perez strained an oblique muscle during his first bullpen session of the year and has yet to make an appearance in a Cactus League game. But that should change sometime early next week. The 26-year-old right-hander retired the first batter he faced Saturday on a grounder to short, the second on a line drive to center and the third on a dribbler to first base.

As long as there are no further setbacks, Perez should be sufficiently geared up by Opening Day. He registered a cool 3.32 ERA and 1.21 WHIP across 59 2/3 innings last year while saving 36 games.

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Chris Perez on the road back

Goodyear, AZ, United States (AHN Sports) – Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez took a positive step toward returning to the mound Wednesday.

Perez threw 20 pitches in a bullpen session under the watchful eye of Indians manager Manny Acta and the All Star looks like he is on the road to recovery.

“He looked really good, man,” Acta said. “He was able to throw all his pitches. His slider was really good. I was very impressed. I’m looking forward to seeing him out there. I think we’ve got plenty of time to get him ready for Opening Day.”

Perez is coming back form an oblique injury that occurred on Feb. 23 during his first bullpen session of the spring. The initial timetable for recovery was projected as four to six weeks.

With Wednesday’s session a success, Perez will look to start pitching in Cactus League games, which could happen as early as Friday or Saturday. Perez could make as many as six appearances before Opening Day.

“I felt great,” said Perez. “For the first time out there, I don’t think it could’ve gone any better. I didn’t feel it at all. I wasn’t apprehensive like the last couple [bullpen sessions]. I warmed up good, threw all my pitches and it was fun facing hitters.”

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Chris Perez on pace for opener after throwing live BP

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians closer Chris Perez could not help himself in the heat of the moment.

As the ball shot off Trevor Crowe's bat and headed back toward the mound on Wednesday morning, Perez thrust his right hand -- his pitching hand -- out to his side in an effort to make a catch. The baseball glanced off the closer's hand and bounced into shallow left field.

"What are you doing?" Crowe yelled from the batter's box.

Trying to catch a sharply struck baseball with a bare hand is a major faux pas for pitchers. Doing so in a live batting-practice session while trying to come back from a strained left oblique -- as was the case for Perez on Wednesday -- is frowned upon even further. Fortunately for Perez and the Indians, it was a minor blip in an otherwise encouraging outing.

"I was just reacting, honestly," Perez said. "I wasn't expecting the first time facing hitters to have the third one hit right back at me. Luckily, we escaped some damage."

Indians manager Manny Acta, who stood behind the batting cage to get a close look at Perez's progress, walked away impressed with what he witnessed on one of the backfields at the team's player development complex. Perez threw with authority and has put himself on a great pace to be ready in time for the start of the regular season.

"He looked really good, man," Acta said. "He was able to throw all his pitches. His slider was really good. I was very impressed. I'm looking forward to seeing him out there. I think we've got plenty of time to get him ready for Opening Day."

Likewise, Perez was in a great mood following his 20-pitch session, during which teammates Crowe and Chad Huffman stepped to the plate to offer the closer a couple of hitters. Crowe hit from the left side and Huffman from the right, allowing Perez to work on his location to both sides of the plate with his fastball and slider.

When the smoke cleared, Perez felt no lingering issues from the oblique injury that flared up on Feb. 23 during his first bullpen session of the spring. The initial timetable for recovery was projected as four to six weeks, and Cleveland's high-energy closer plans on doing everything in his power to be ready in time for Opening Day.

Getting through Wednesday's workout unscathed was a major step.

"Without a doubt," Perez said. "It's the biggest one so far -- the biggest hurdle."

With the live BP workout behind him, Perez can finally turn his focus toward pitching in Cactus League contests. His first official game outing will likely fall on Friday or Saturday, and the closer would likely pitch on an every-other-day basis down the stretch. Under that scenario, Perez could make as many as six appearances before Opening Day.

Perez -- a first-time All-Star for the American League last season -- said the most important aspect of Wednesday's session was the fact that he did not hold anything back. After firing his first pitch, the right-hander did not feel any tightness, allowing him to loosen up and throw with more conviction for the rest of the program.

"I felt great," said Perez, who saved 36 games in 40 chances for the Indians in 2011. "For the first time out there, I don't think it could've gone any better. I didn't feel it at all. I wasn't apprehensive like the last couple [bullpen sessions]. I warmed up good, threw all my pitches and it was fun facing hitters.

"That was another thing I was worried about, is not letting it go. I didn't feel anything. The first pitch I let it go and it felt good. I think that's what made it work today. I didn't feel anything at all from the onset. I just worked into it and let it go."

Joining the closer on Cleveland's comeback trail Wednesday were fellow relievers Rafael Perez and Robinson Tejeda.

Perez and Tejeda each logged one shutout inning in Wednesday's 5-3 loss to the Giants at Goodyear Ballpark. The left-handed Perez -- a lock to make the Opening Day bullpen, barring a setback -- struck out two in his lone frame. Tejeda, who is competing for one of the two available relief roles, gave up one walk and a hit, but escaped without allowing a run.

"He was around the strike zone," said Acta, referring to Rafael Perez. "He had a good slider. He was able to face some lefties and was able to retire them with no problem. It was good to see him get out there and have no traffic whatsoever on the bases."

Acta added that he still thinks there is time for Tejeda to make a run at a bullpen job.

"Hopefully we can get him enough innings," Acta said. "It's kind of tough at the end of camp, because the starters are getting stretched out and we need to see the relievers, too. But I think there's enough time to see what he's got."

Acta could do without seeing any more of his pitchers reach for hard-hit grounders with their bare pitching hand, though.
"Hey, it's instincts," Acta said with a shrug. "It was just reaction."

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Closer Chris Perez feels 'good' after bullpen session

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians are one step closer to getting back their closer.

On Friday morning, Chris Perez had his first bullpen session since straining his left side in his first bullpen of the spring on Feb. 23, and the 10-minute workout was deemed a success.

Perez said he eased his way into it but turned his fastball loose late in the session and didn't experience any problems.

"It felt good," said Perez, who saved a career-high 36 games in 2011, his first season as the team's full-time ninth-inning man. "I'm not 100 percent yet. I wouldn't expect to be. I felt like it was the first bullpen of Spring Training -- you know, kind of rusty, not hitting all my spots.

"But the side felt amazing. It felt better than I thought it would."

The plan for Perez is to throw another bullpen session on Sunday, which will be followed by a live batting practice session and then, if all goes well, his 2011 Cactus League debut.

Indians manager Manny Acta said a healthy closer would ideally get between 10 and 12 innings in a spring, but that Perez could still be ready for the beginning of the regular season even with only six or seven frames under his belt. Acta added that he liked what he saw from Perez on Friday.

"He put good effort into it and threw the ball very good with good life on his fastball," Acta said. "It's very encouraging to see him do that."

When asked if he could be ready to close on Opening Day with a limited spring workload, Perez laughed.

"I'm going to have to be," Perez said. "No other choice. But I really can't tell you a set number of outings [to be ready]. It's always different. Last year I was ready halfway through Spring Training. ... Two years ago I probably wasn't ready even when Opening Day came, but I figured out a way to get outs when it started.

"Hopefully this year I can get it all done within six or seven outings and be ready for Opening Day."

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Chris Perez eager for upcoming bullpen session

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Indians closer Chris Perez cracked a smile when asked if it was silly to wonder if he was excited about finally being cleared to throw a bullpen session.

"It's not silly at all," said Perez, who has been sidelined for the past three weeks with a left oblique strain. "I'm excited about a bullpen. It's the next step."

On Wednesday, Perez threw long toss from a distance of 150 feet, marking the final stage of his flat-ground throwing program before being able to move back on a mound. If Perez feels fine over the next two days, the closer will be able to work through a bullpen session during Friday morning's workout at the Indians' player development complex.

Perez injured his side near the end of his first bullpen session of the spring and the team indicated that he would need four to six weeks to fully recover. If he continues at his current pace, Perez believes he will be able to squeeze in five or six Cactus League appearances before camp breaks.

Prior to pitching in spring games, though, Perez needs to work through one or two bullpen sessions and likely a simulated game against Minor League hitters.

"We're still on pace to make it for Opening Day, which is our biggest goal right now," Perez said. "No setbacks. I'm feeling good. My arm feels better than it did last year at any point. It feels like I did in 2010. I'm ready to go.

"That's another frustrating part. My arm feels so good that I want to get out there. I want to attack. I want to do my job and I can't do it."

Perez's job is to hold down the ninth inning and he did so to the tune of 36 saves in 40 chances as an American League All-Star last season. Cleveland remains hopeful that he will be able to be in the bullpen come Opening Day, but manager Manny Acta has noted that setup man Vinnie Pestano could serve as a temporary closer, if necessary.

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Chris Perez (oblique) to throw from 150 ft. Wed.

Chris Perez (oblique) is planning to play long-toss from a distance of 150 feet on Wednesday.

If that goes well, it won't be long before Perez is cleared for mound work. He suffered an oblique strain while throwing his first bullpen session of the spring and was originally prescribed a recovery timetable of 4-6 weeks. But he's currently ahead of that pace and could be ready for Opening Day if the progress continues.

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Chris Perez on track to resume mound work this week

Indians closer Chris Perez is making a steady recovery from the oblique strain that he suffered during his first bullpen session of the spring, according to’s Jordan Bastian, and may be ready to resume mound workouts this week.

Perez, who was originally prescribed a recovery timetable of 4-6 weeks, has already progressed to throwing long toss at a distance of 105 feet.
Once he’s able to extend that to 120 feet, the Indians’ medical staff will clear him for bullpen sessions and then live batting practice.

“I feel good,” Perez told reporters Saturday in Indians camp. “Right now, everything is based on how I’m feeling each day and I’m feeling really good.”

The 26-year-old right-hander posted a 3.32 ERA in 59 2/3 innings last year, saving 36 games in 40 tries. If he’s not ready by Opening Day, early save chances will likely go to talented setup man Vinnie Pestano.

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Chris Perez (oblique) could be ready for season

Danny Knobler of writes that the Indians believe Chris Perez (oblique) still has a chance of being ready for Opening Day.
Perez is gradually increasing the distance of his throwing after straining his left oblique late last month. Initial reports had him missing 4-6 weeks, so there's still a chance he could be ready if he doesn't run into any setbacks. Vinnie Pestano would be the likely candidate for saves if Perez needs extra recovery time.

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Chris Perez throws for first time since injury

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- After nearly two weeks of a gradual rehab process, Indians closer Chris Perez was allowed to pick up a baseball again on Tuesday morning.

Perez worked through 45 throws from a distance of 60 feet at the Tribe's player development complex, marking the first time he has played catch since injuring his left oblique during a bullpen session early in camp.

"I felt good," Perez told reporters on Tuesday. "I don't know what's on tap for tomorrow."

Perez strained his side in the later stages of a 10-minute mound session on Feb. 23. Cleveland announced that the timetable for recovery for his type of injury typically takes four to six weeks, meaning that returning before Opening Day remains a possibility.

"He played catch with [head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff]," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "That's a good first step, is being able to do it and follow the calendar."

Last week, Perez guessed that he might be able to return to game action by March 15, but that is likely an unrealistic target date. If the closer's comeback falls within the four-to-six-week time frame, he might be able to take the mound in a game at some point between March 22 and Opening Day on April 5.

The Indians will see how Perez feels on Wednesday morning before moving ahead with the next step in his throwing program, which will see the distances increase in 15-foot increments. Perez needs to build up to 120 feet before moving back on a mound and then beginning game activities.
Last year, the 26-year-old Perez posted a 3.32 ERA and saved 36 games in 40 opportunities in an All-Star season for the Indians.

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Chris Perez expects to be ready for Opening Day

Chris Perez (oblique) said his goal is to make it back by March 15 and he should be good to go for Opening Day.
Since he's been given a 4-6 week timetable, the closer is being optimistic here. Perez injured his left oblique during a bullpen session when he went full-out a little too soon rather than easing himself into things. The smart money would probably be on him starting the season on the DL, with Vinnie Pestano the likeliest candidate to handle the ninth inning work.

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Chris Perez out four to six weeks

GOODYEAR, ARIZ. — Chris Perez couldn't even finish his first bullpen session without trouble.

Now he has to save opening day.

Cleveland's All-Star closer will miss at least one month and possibly six weeks with a strained left side muscle he injured throwing off the mound for the first time in spring training. Perez said Sunday he had thrown about 30 pitches Thursday when he pulled up with what he thought was a cramp.
Instead, he strained an oblique muscle.

"Just one of those fluke things," he said.

It's the second significant medical setback in camp already for the Indians, who were ravaged by injuries last season. On Friday, the club announced that center fielder Grady Sizemore will not be ready for opening day because of a strained lower back.

Trainer Lonnie Soloff said there's still a chance Perez will be ready for opening day on April 5, depending on how he does with treatments.
Asked if Perez would miss the opener against Toronto, Soloff said, "I wouldn't say that."

"We'll have to see how things go and how he responds with his throwing sessions once he gets back on a mound," he said.

Soloff said Perez will need four to six weeks to recover and the hope is the hard-throwing right-hander will be able to pitch in games "toward the end" of the exhibition season.

Perez, who had 36 saves in 40 chances and a 3.32 ERA in 64 games last season, believes he can return in time to start the season closing games for manager Manny Acta.

"Opening day is not out of the question for me," Perez said. "Four to six weeks is on the long side of when I want to be back out there. Obviously, I have to listen to my body. Now, it's just go out and bang out my rehab."

Soloff said Perez was pushing himself too hard so early in camp.

"His body was clearly not ready for the intensity of that bullpen session," said Soloff, who was asked if he meant Perez was not in shape.
"No," he said. "I'm just saying he wasn't prepared for the intensity of the bullpen session."
Perez later said he was just too aggressive.

"What he (Soloff) means by that is it was the first day, I was going 100 percent," Perez said. "He probably wanted me to go 75 or 50 percent, but that's not who I am. I get work in throwing 100 percent. I'm not going to go throw a bullpen at 50 percent and pretty much just waste a day.

"I was doing what I normally do when I throw a bullpen It wasn't because I came in out of shape or anything."

Because he's a reliever and not a starter needing to build stamina, Perez will not need as much time to get ready for the start of the season. If there's a bright side to his injury, that's it.

Definitely a positive," Soloff said.

If Perez winds up not being available for the opener, setup man Vinnie Pestano would be Acta's likely first option to close.
Acta has said there are two bullpen jobs up for grabs this spring.

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More Photos From the 2012 Hurricane Baseball Fan Fest

Check out our EXCLUSIVE photos from the 2012 UM Baseball Fan Fest which featured a HR Derby won by proCane Minnesota Twin Danny Valencia. Other proCanes like Jemile Weeks, Jon Jay, Chris Perez, Eddy Rodriguez and many more joined the festivities.

Jemile Weeks, Danny Valencia
Jemile Weeks
Peter O’Brien
The Maniac
Jemile Weeks
Rony Rodriguez
Danny Valencia
Jemile Weeks
Danny Valencia
Danny Valencia, Peter O’Brien

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Click here to see more photos ->>

2012 Hurricanes Baseball Fest Photos

Check out our EXCLUSIVE photos from the 2012 UM Baseball Fan Fest which featured a HR Derby won by proCane Minnesota Twin Danny Valencia. Other proCanes like Jemile Weeks, Jon Jay, Chris Perez, Eddy Rodriguez and many more joined the festivities.

Jon Jay, Danny Valencia, Jemile Weeks, Coach Jim Morris, Chris Perez
Peter O’Brien, Rony Rodriguez, Jemile Weeks, Danny Valencia
Jon Jay, Jemile Weeks
Danny Valencia
Jon Jay, Coach Gino DiMare, Jemile Weeks
Adan Severino, Richard Giannotti
Chris Perez
Jon Jay
Alex Fernandez

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A great story about Chris Perez, his father and an oversized All-Star ring

For those of you who are also suckers for a good baseball story involving fathers and sons, Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez has one that will warm your winter bones.

In a recent interview with Jim McCarthy Jr. of Bleacher Report, the 26-year-old right-hander related the tale of how much he enjoyed his first-trip to the All-Star game — and how he made sure to thank his father for being there for him during every step of his career.

"The morning of the All-Star game there was a family brunch for the players and their families," Chris Perez said. "Before entering the brunch, they handed out All-Star rings. When I picked mine up, they asked me to try it on. (I already had planned to give the ring to my Dad, so I had told them to make the ring 5 sizes too big for me.) My Dad was right next to me and noticed how big it was on me. I tried to play it off, but he kept making a deal about it. So finally I just walked away.

"Flash forward to after the game, my family and I are relaxing back in the hotel, and I pulled out the ring and gave it to him. He was shocked/surprised/happy/speechless. I couldn't think of anyone else that deserved the ring more than him; he's the reason I love the game, and the reason I became an All-Star."

That's great stuff right there. Though Perez never saw the field during the Midsummer Classic, the expanded rosters still gave he and his father the chance to share a special moment like Heath Bell did with his dad the year before. There are a lot of arguments to be made against the expanded rosters, but this is definitely one for them.

If you're wondering what Perez's dad thought of the gesture, you're also in luck. Tim Perez told his side of the story to the Bradenton Herald last July.

"I wasn't expecting it. We were in the room, and Chris just said 'I want to give you something,'" [Tim Perez] recalled. "My first reaction was, 'Son this is your ring. And he says 'No, dad, I wouldn't here without you.' I wasn't expecting anything. I was just a dad supporting his son."
Just a dad supporting his son. And a son paying thanks to his dad. Maybe some of you roll your eyes at the saccharine sweetness of it all, but I don't think it gets much better.

Chris Perez finished the 2011 season with 36 saves and a 3.32 ERA, but like his Indians, stumbled a bit in the second half. It'll probably take another stellar first half from both sides for Perez to make another All-Star game, but it sounds like it'll be tough to top the moment that he and his pops had during his first trip.

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Cleveland Indians agree to 1-year deals with All-Star closer Chris Perez

CLEVELAND — All-Star closer Chris Perez and the Cleveland Indians have locked up a one-year contract to avoid arbitration.

Perez, who had 36 saves last season, will make $4.5 million in 2012. He earned $2.25 million last season, when he developed into one of the AL’s premier finishers.

The 26-year-old had 36 saves in 40 tries, ending the year with a save in his final nine chances.

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