Shoulder woes sideline Tribe closer Chris Perez for World Baseball Classic
Cleveland, OH, United States (4E Sports) – A sore right shoulder will keep Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez from seeing action for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.
Perez, who will be sidelined for three to four weeks, was replaced by Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander David Hernandez.
The 27-year-old Hernandez has pitched to a 2.94 ERA with 175 strikeouts in 137 2/3 innings for Arizona over the last two seasons.
The Diamondbacks acquired Hernandez from the Orioles as part of the Mark Reynolds trade, and he has since settled in as J.J. Putz’s primary setup man. He will join Diamondbacks bullpen-mate Heath Bell in the Team USA bullpen.
The Indians announced Friday that Perez suffered a subscapularis strain in his throwing shoulder.
The team said the two-time All-Star will be shut down for a period of seven to 10 days, with the goal of returning to game activity within the next three to four weeks, putting his Opening Day stint in jeopardy.
“It’s really difficult to replace a closer like Chris,” Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said. “He means a lot to the team, and I’m hopeful we won’t need to. I’m hopeful he’ll be ready to start the season.”
After pitching one inning in a Cactus League game against the Kansas City Royals, Perez felt something in his shoulder and Cleveland scratched his next scheduled appearance in order to determine the extent of the injury.
After being examined by Indians head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff and Cleveland’s medical team, the club discovered the shoulder strain.
If Perez returns in three weeks, it would give the closer roughly a week to prepare for the Tribe’s April 2 Opening Day game against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Last season, the 27-year-old Perez saved 39 games and had a 3.59 ERA in 61 appearances. Over the past three years, Perez ranks fifth in the Majors in saves (98) and save percentage (89.1). He signed a one-year, $7.3 million contract this past winter to avoid arbitration.