Chris Perez sidelined with oblique injury

The Indians have lost closer Chris Perez for the time being, but the club is hoping there is still enough time for him to return to the bullpen prior to Opening Day in Cleveland.

On Sunday, the Indians revealed that Perez is sidelined with a strained left oblique and the pitcher will likely need at least four to six weeks to recover from the injury. That does not necessarily mean that the closer will be unavailable for the April 5 opener against the Blue Jays.

“I wouldn’t say that,” said Indians head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff, when asked if Perez was doubtful for Opening Day. “We’ll have to see how things go and how he responds with his throwing sessions once he gets back on a mound.”

It is not clear when Perez will be cleared to resume throwing off a mound, but the Indians are hopeful that he can begin game action before camp breaks at the end of March. Soloff said it helps that the 26-year-old pitcher is a reliever, so he will not need as much time to build up his pitch count before rejoining the bullpen.

“That’s definitely a positive,” Soloff said.

Perez indicated that he injured his left side on Thursday around pitches 25-30 near the end of a 10-minute bullpen session — his first mound workout of the spring. At first, Perez thought it was a cramp. The pitcher ended his session early and the team discovered he had strained his left oblique.

For right-handed pitchers, oblique issues most commonly effect the left side, according to Soloff.

“His body was clearly not ready for the intensity of that bullpen session,” Soloff said. “We’re hoping to have him in games towards the end of spring. It will be largely based on his responses.”

Perez interpreted Soloff’s comments to mean he was too aggressive in his first mound workout of the spring.

“What he 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 miss all my spots and pretty much just waste a day.

“I was doing what I normally do when I throw a bullpen. I felt a cramp, so I think I was a little dehydrated. It is what it is. I pulled it. I’m physically ready to go. I could play tomorrow if it was Opening Day and this didn’t happen. I’m physically ready to go. It wasn’t because I came in out of shape or anything.

“I’ve been the same since I’ve been here. It’s just one of those fluke things and we have to move past it.”

Perez noted that his personal goal is to return to the mound for Cleveland by March 15. In the meantime, he is working through three-hour rehab sessions with the goal of adding in more exercises in the next eight or nine days. From there, Perez would resume a throwing program.

“Opening Day is not out of the question for me,” Perez said. “Four to six weeks is on the long side for me 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.”

When he does return to the mound, Perez said he might have to take things slower at first.. <p> “Lonnie wants me to learn to kind of take my time out there,” Perez said. “It’s kind of a process. I’m still kind of young. I’m by no means a veteran in this game. I’m still learning my body and learning what I need to do to get ready for Opening Day.”

Perez added that he only need about six spring outings to be ready for the start of the season a year ago. <p> Last season, in his first full tour as the Tribe’s closer, Perez posted 36 saves in 40 opportunities and fashioned a 3.32 ERA across 64 games. The closer was named to the American League All-Star team and ended the 2011 season ranked fourth in the league in saves.

Behind Perez on the bullpen depth chart are setup men Vinnie Pestano and Tony Sipp, along with Rafael Perez and Joe Smith. The Indians entered Spring Training with the last two relief jobs up for grabs and a bevy of arms in the running for a spot on the Opening Day roster.

Frank Herrmann and Nick Hagadone represent options currently on Cleveland’s 40-man roster. Some non-roster candidates include Dan Wheeler, Chris Ray, Robinson Tejeda, Chris Ray and Hector Ambriz, among others.

The closer joked that the setback might actually be beneficial for him.

“Me personally, I think Spring Training is too long anyways for relievers,” Perez quipped. “So maybe this will be a little blessing in disguise. I can come back with eight or nine days left, get my five appearances and be ready to go.”

–JB

10 Comments

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So he was out of shape coming into spring training? That sounds like a red flag to me.

not good not good at all this bad bad news.
His body wasn’t ready for the intensity of his 1st bullpen session? Huh? Then get in shape before you come to spring training CP.

Is Chris Ray available? Ha!

How about Wickman? How is the team supposed to content if their closer who has some serious talent can’t stay in good enough shape in the offseason to throw for 10 minutes? Maybe Antonetti should see if Keith Foulke is available.

I’m glad he thinks its amusing too. “ha ha I was out of shape because I don’t work hard, now I get more time to chill. ha ha” I’ll be laughing too, from my living room instead of at Progressive field.

http://whereeverywinisbig.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/indians-spring-training-update-1-of-6-non-roster-invitees/

Here’s a look at some potential replacements if need be…

…but honestly, I don’t think Perez will miss any time. If he does, Pestano could fill the role nicely for a week or two.

Julia I did like that honesty.. Perhaps more bsaucee I’m tired of ballplayers being all politically correct and giving generic answers for everything so they never look bad. My view: No one is perfect [except for Derek Jeter] so say what you think. =DMegan Thanks =) .. I was digging Cisco last night as well. He was great behind the plate and even picked up his first ML hit, so it was a good night for him. Hope to see more of those. However, I would love it if the Yanks could go a week without another bite from the injury bug.Level LOL.. It’s kind of sad that his worshipers used the Manny being Manny slogan day in and day out to justify his antics, but they simply can’t utter the words now. It just doesn’t cut it for this.Jeff Seriously.. that’s what I’m saying.– V

He’s finished. And Alfredo prbaobly didn’t want to spend more time in the minor leagues. There is a limit to how many arms they can have in the major league bullpen. Plus, he’s finished.

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