MINNEAPOLIS: Former Indians closer Chris Perez hadn’t spoken to the media since late June when he got upset over reports detailing his arrest on a misdemeanor drug charge.
As late as Friday, Perez still refused to budge on his stance when a group of four reporters approached him in the visitors locker room at Target Field and asked if he’d reconsider.
“Nope” was all the right-hander would mutter a day after being relieved of his closing duties.
Perhaps it was all the Champagne being sprayed and/or maybe all the beer that had been flowing, but as the Indians post-game celebration was winding down early Sunday evening following the team’s 10th consecutive victory that clinched an American League wild-card berth, Perez finally offered to unzip his lips.
“I’ll talk now,” he offered when a group of reporters passed him in a hallway outside of the clubhouse.
In short, Perez said the playoffs are no time for egos. He said during a nine-minute conversation in Minneapolis that he’s not hurt and is instead just working through mechanical issues.
“I’m in a slump. It came at the worst time of the year. If this would have happened in April or May, it would suck, but it would be under the radar. Games are magnified in September, especially when you’re in it. All I can do is work at it. Physically, I’m good. It’s just a little mechanical adjustment I need to make. I threw a bullpen today, my first step getting back and I felt good. … I still feel I can contribute to this team. I know I’m going to.
“… I went into Tito’s [Terry Francona’s] office [Thursday] night and said, ‘I’m not going to cost this team a playoff spot. You need to make a change right now. You got four or five guys who are throwing the crap out of the ball. I don’t have an ego. Make the change.’ And he did.”
Stephanie Storm can be reached at email@example.com.