CINCINNATI: Indians closer Chris Perez became officially injured Monday when an MRI scan showed he has tendinitis in his right shoulder.
Shoulder injuries can be more problematic for pitchers than elbow injuries, but they aren’t always so. Manager Terry Francona doesn’t think Perez will have a lengthy stay on the disabled list.
“I thought [the scan] was very encouraging,” Francona said Tuesday. “He will do no throwing for five to seven days, then he can start a throwing progression, if his symptoms are gone.”
In other words, Perez can start playing catch when he feels no pain in the shoulder.
“If he does [start throwing in a week or less], I think he’ll come quick,” Francona said. “In general, the amount of time it takes to get better is equal to the amount of time it takes to come back. Usually, it’s pretty close.”
However, the Tribe’s medical staff did not announce a timetable for Perez’s return.
The injury became an issue Sunday, when Perez tried but failed to protect a three-run lead against the Red Sox in Boston. On his last pitch, Mark Reynolds, playing third, called head trainer Lonnie Soloff and Francona to the mound.
Perez seemed to be in obvious pain, and when he threw a warm-up pitch, it missed the plate by miles.
A week earlier, Perez spent a couple of idle days nursing a sore shoulder, but he returned to the mound quickly. He also had to take time off in spring training because of shoulder pain. However, on that occasion, the offending muscle was behind and below the shoulder. This time, a different muscle is causing the problem.
Francona asked Soloff if the current injury is the same as Perez experienced in training camp.
“I don’t know if you can say that or not,” Francona said. “I asked Lonnie the same question, and he gave me the answer I’m giving you.”
While Perez is out of action, setup man Vinnie Pestano will be the primary closer. Joe Smith, who usually pitches the seventh inning, plus Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw will pitch in the eighth, when the Tribe has a lead. Which one is called into the game will depend on the situation, the composition of the opposing lineup, who has a fresh arm and other circumstances.
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at https://ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.