While the Cleveland Indians started a rumor and conspiracy firestorm on Friday with their handling of All-Star closer Chris Perez’ injury, it turns out that the pitcher was the one who decided on skipping the impending World Baseball Classic — it was not a team-directed mandate.
Per The Plain Dealer’s Bud Shaw, Perez, suffering from pain in his throwing shoulder, told manager Terry Francona that he should not go forward with pitching in the global display.
“I said, ‘What do you want to do?'” Francona state. “He said, ‘I don’t think I should pitch in the World Baseball Classic.’ I said, ‘OK, that sounds fair enough.’ I was ready for him to say, ‘Hey let’s give it a couple days.’ But he said, ‘I probably shouldn’t do that. I like what we’re doing here. I want to be a part of this.’ I was happy to hear that.”
When leaving the facility on Friday, Perez seemed visibly upset, but this appears to be out of frustration rather than petulance. Perez, in turn, will be shut down for at least the next week, and could miss up to a month of action. While a different injury, this is similar to the injury sustained by Perez last spring which kept him out until the final days of March. Perez made three spring training appearances, blew a save on Opening Day, then went on to convert 24 consecutive save opportunities.
“It’s gotten better every day I’ve come in, so that’s a good sign,” Perez said this weekend. “Noticeably better, too. I was more concerned last year with my oblique strain. If this were the regular season I’d manage it myself and keep playing. But there’s no reason to rush it.”