While the night in Double-A Akron was set to be fun with two rehabbing Indians relievers, the mood turned sour very quickly in the top of the second.
The highlight of the exciting night was supposed to be rehabbing closer Chris Perez, who was to work the second inning for the Aeros against the Trenton Thunder (Yankees affiliate). After a first-batter strikeout on three pitches, there certainly was thunder. The sequence: HR to RF, strike out swinging, HR to RF, hit-by-pitch, HR to RF, 2B to LF, RBI 1B to CF (runner out at second on throw).
The final damage for Perez on the night: 1.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 HR, 2 K, 1 HBP. The homers were all hard-hit balls, with more force on each one. He had 23 pitches, 17 for strikes. He remains the pitcher of the record on the night as the score was 5-0 when he departed in the middle of the second inning.
Per the @AkronAeros Twitter account, Perez said he obviously wasn’t happy with the results of the outing and cited poor location. He said he will have to see what the Indians organization says next for his schedule. Per Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal, Perez said his arm feels fine and that results were not the main goal of his appearance.
Perez was previously expected to return to the Indians 25-man roster on Friday. This was set to be his final rehab appearance as he recovers from right shoulder soreness. He previously pitched for Lake County on Sunday, where he allowed two hits but no runs in one inning. There are no current indications on who might be moved to make room for Perez on the team’s roster, or whether the team will remain with its current seven-man bullpen.
Although Perez was the signature rehabber on Tuesday for Akron, he wasn’t the only one. The guy who led off the game was right-hander Blake Wood, a 27-year-old working his way back from May 2012 Tommy John surgery. Wood struck out the side (two looking, one swinging) for Akron in the top of the first, while allowing only a measly two-out double down the third-base line. He finished with 17 pitches, 11 for strikes.
Wood was claimed by the Indians off waivers from Kansas City on Nov. 2, 2012 and is on the team’s 40-man roster. He has a career 6-6 record with a 4.30 ERA in 106 MLB relief appearances. It was Wood’s sixth rehab outing in 2013, his fourth with Akron and he had previously made two with Lake County. He was expected to compete for a bullpen job with the team by the time he returns in the middle of the 2013 season.
Jacob Rosen is a long-time contributor to WaitingForNextYear. He's also a writer online at SportsAnalyticsBlog and Nylon Calculus . An Akron native, Jacob is a current MBA student at the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. You can follow him on Twitter @WFNYJacob or e-mail him at udjrosen(at)gmail(dot)com.