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Cleveland Indians

Perez wants to make his mark

By Sheldon Published: June 29, 2009

 CLEVELAND: Chris Perez is only 23, but he's been there before. Where? In a bad bullpen. ¶
   The Indians traded Mark DeRosa for Perez Saturday night to help upgrade their relief corps, and Perez reported for work in Cleveland on Monday. To make room for him on the roster, Josh Barfield was optioned to Triple-A. ¶
   Speaking of his first stint in the majors last year, Perez said, ""It wasn't a good situation. We were leading the league in blown saves. But you can't put too much pressure on yourself. It's still a baseball game. So I got experience with that last year.'' ¶
   In a span of less than two weeks, the Tribe has acquired three new relievers: Mike Gosling and Jose Veras, in addition to Perez. At the moment, the bullpen is stuffed with eight pitchers, one more than the norm. ¶
   The trade took Perez by surprise, but it wasn't entirely unexpected. ¶
   ""The Cardinals never came to me and said, "You're on the trading block,' '' Perez said. ""But my dad, he reads all that (rumor) stuff. A player can't listen to too much of that. So Saturday I had no idea. But I thought it might be Oakland, that we were trying to get (Matt) Holliday.'' ¶
  Perez said he hasn't gotten much work lately, because in his mind, St. Louis was trying to deal him. ¶
   ""The first two months, I got regular work every two or three days,'' he said. ""That's when I'm at my best. This last month, they were trying to trade me, and they were throwing me every five or six days. That's a tough adjustment to make. I have to throw a lot to keep my slider at full capability. So that wasn't a good situation.'' ¶
   Perez comes to Cleveland having posted a 1-1 record with one save and a 4.18 earned-run average in  232/3 innings (29 appearances). ¶
   Like most career relievers -- Perez has worked out of the bullpen dating back to his years at the University of Miami -- he aspires to become a closer. ¶
   ""That's my dream, this year, next year, a couple of years down the road,'' Perez said. ""I hope to do that somewhere.'' ¶
   Manager Eric Wedge doesn't plan to supplant Kerry Wood with Perez, but he is hoping that after the newcomer gets acclimated to a new team and new league, he will work his way toward the back of the bullpen. ¶
   ""I had a good talk with him,'' Wedge said. ""He has a lot of energy, and he's happy to be here. We have a new look to our bullpen; there's been a lot of turnover. We'll ease him in the first time out, but I think he has a bright future.'' ¶
   ONE MORE TIME -- Aaron Laffey expressed a desire to return to the Indians immediately and end his stint on the disabled list after a rehab start in Akron Sunday in which he gave up three runs, five hits and six walks in 31/3 innings. ¶
  However, Laffey's wish will not be granted. ¶
   ""We're going to give him one more start,'' manager Eric Wedge said on Monday. ""He felt good, but we need to see a little more than that.'' ¶
    Laffey's next start will be at Columbus.   ¶
   Whereas Laffey's rehab assignment might end this week, Rafael Betancourt's is likely to begin. He is scheduled to throw a simulated game Wednesday and could begin a rehab assignment over the weekend. ¶
   Betancoourt has been on the DL with a strained groin. ¶
   GOING FOR IT -- Travis Hafner's two-games-on, one-off routine is scheduled to end this week. ¶
   ""We're hoping to play Travis is all three games against Chicago,'' Wedge said. ¶
   Until now, Hafner was rested every third day to ease the burden on his surgically repaired shoulder. ¶
   Asdrubal Cabrera, who came off the disabled list Sunday, will play two days of every three for the time being. Cabrera was on the DL with a strained AC (shoulder) joint. ¶
   ANOTHER SIGNEE -- The Tribe signed its 26th-round pick in the amateur draft, Antwonie Hubbard, a right-hander from the University of Okilahoma. ¶
   AWARD TIME -- Columbus third baseman Andy Marte was selected International League Batter of the Week for hitting .478 with eight RBI for the week ending Sunday. Overall, Marte is batting .307 and leads the team in home runs (9) and RBI (40). *elip Akron outfielder Nick Weglarz has been named Eastern League Player of the Week for the second time this year. For the week ending Sunday, he batted .450 with two doubles, four home runs and 12 RBI. ¶
   FARM FACTS -- Jordan Brown doubled, singled twice and drove in two runs, as Columbus lost to Durham 8-7. Wyatt Toregas hit his seventh homer of the year and singled, driving in three runs, and Trevor Crowed had two singles. *elip Lonnie Chisenhall tripled and doubled, driving in one run, as Kinston defeated Myrtle Beach 7-4. Lucas Montero homered, singled and had two RBI. *elip Delvi Cid had a double and two singles, driving in one run in Lake County's 8-7 win over Hagerstown. ¶

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