When the Indians announced the lineup and pitchers for today’s game against the White Sox in Goodyear, Chris Perez was listed among the pitchers scheduled to throw. A few hours before game time, he was pulled…this happens sometimes, so not necessarily that unusual. However, I don’t think I ever remember a spring training injury that had as much drama around it as the one today with Chris Perez. Francona was supposedly a bit odd and evasive when questioned by the media as to why Perez was removed from today’s rotation. The Indians didn’t mention an injury at first, and said they would discuss it in further detail tomorrow. Reporters saw Perez talking to GM Chris Antonetti in a hallway, and suddenly people were speculating that perhaps he was traded. Then, all of the sudden the Indians announced they would talk about Perez in an hour, not tomorrow. As Perez left the parking lot in Goodyear, reporters tried to get a comment. He rolled down his window to basically tell them he wasn’t going to tell them anything, and he left. In the meantime, speculation was rampant around the internet. Anything from injury, to trade, to positive PED test were tossed around as the cause for Perez’s exit. I personally thought that maybe the Indians told Perez that they didn’t want him to participate in the World Baseball Classic, and he became angry about their decision. (Although Carlos Santana would be considered a more valuable player to have in camp, since he works with the pitching staff. He is still allowed to go.)
It turns out that Perez has a Subscapularis strain in right shoulder, and will not throw at all for seven to ten days. He won’t resume exhibition game activity for another three to four weeks, meaning that he may not be ready for Opening Day. Remember that he missed much of spring training last year with an oblique injury, and he was ready in time for Opening Day. He blew a save in spectacular fashion, and ultimately caused my father and I, along with several thousand others, to nearly freeze to death during a 16-inning loss. He was ready for Opening Day though. The Indians pointed out in their press release pertaining to Perez’s injury that his last outing was on February 26. It’s not clear if that’s the day he injured his shoulder, or that it just seemed to get worse at that point in time. He obviously will no longer participate in the World Baseball Classic, meaning that Vinnie Pestano will be the lone Indians representative on Team USA. There is some speculation that this injury is a ruse to keep Perez from participating. While that was an initial instinct, like I said, Santana is more vital to camp and they’re not preventing his participation. Plus, why would they keep Perez from even throwing for seven to ten days, and away from games from three to four weeks?
After all of the Perez-related drama, the Indians still had a game to play against the White Sox. Justin Masterson started and had a pretty rough outing overall (even though he pitched a decent first inning). Masterson only survived for 2 and 2/3 innings, and he gave up four earned runs on six hits; two of those six hits were home runs. David Huff surrendered the rest of the runs – he pitched 2 innings, giving up 3 earned runs on 2 hits and 3 walks. Preston Guilmet pitched a scoreless 1/3 of an inning, while Matt Capps and Joe Martinez each pitched scoreless innings. The real high point of today’s game was Scott Kazmir’s performance; he pitched two scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out three. It sounds like he’s looked good so far this spring, and it sounds as if his velocity has returned (it was back when he pitched in winter ball as well). He has yet to allow an earned run in spring training. I really look forward to seeing him pitch when I get out there in a week; it’s tough to have a good impression on how guys look when you’re relying on the word of reporters and broadcasters since the games aren’t televised.
The offense bounced back today, getting 9 runs on 10 hits after getting shut out on 5 hits yesterday. Mike McDade had another good game – he went 2 for 2 with a home run. Non-roster invitee Matt Carson also hit another home run today as he went 1 for 2. (It was his third home run so far this spring.) Lou Marson, Mike Aviles, Ben Francisco, Cord Phelps, Nate Spears, and Matt Antonelli each had one hit.
There are a few other Indians nursing injuries – as I mentioned earlier this week, Michael Brantley is out temporarily with a lacerated arm. Frank Herrmann suffered a right elbow ligament sprain during his last appearance on February 25 against Oakland. The Indians said they are “still in the process of gathering information for the most appropriate course of action” in regard’s to Herrmann’s injury. He’s not participating in workouts and there is no timetable for his return. Joe Smith has been dealing with an oblique issue, but he participated in a simulated game yesterday and live batting practice is scheduled for tomorrow.
The Indians take on the Padres tomorrow afternoon in Goodyear at 3:05 ET.