Sheldon Ocker

CLEVELAND: Rafael Perez has been throwing low velocity fastballs since spring training.

Until Friday, Indians officials had to guess the reason. On Wednesday, after working one scoreless inning against the Kansas City Royals and walking two, he complained of pain in the left side of his back below the shoulder.

Less than 48 hours later, Perez was on the 15-day disabled list with a strained latissimus.

“After the game, he came back in and said he felt something,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “He was examined the next day by doctors and went through some tests.”

Whether this is the reason Perez has been throwing fastballs 82-85 mph isn’t certain. Acta said the injury that cost him more than half of spring training was “in a different spot.”

Obviously, Acta and pitching coach Scott Radinsky also noticed the drop in speed, but Perez generally was getting batters out, allowing three runs in 7? innings.

“We were concerned, because we saw the lack of velocity,” Acta said. “We kept coming to him, and he kept saying he was fine. We thought it was his lack of work in spring training.”

No surgery is anticipated, but Acta had no timetable for Perez’s return to health.

“From one day to six weeks,” he joked.

Head trainer Lonnie Soloff said his expected return would be three to six weeks.

That means Nick Hagadone will receive a longer trial than when he was summoned from Triple-A Columbus April 17 and stayed until Monday.

“They told me yesterday afternoon, so I had time to pack and actually get some sleep,” Hagadone said. “I just want to come up now and do the best job I can.”

In his previous call-up, Hagadone pitched three times on the road, giving up one run and two hits in 3? innings, striking out four. Opposing hitters batted only .154 against him. For the Clippers, he threw 7? scoreless innings.

“He’s got good stuff and he works extremely hard,” Acta said. “He is always eager to learn and get better. He has never taken a step back. He’s pretty close to being a very good major-league pitcher.”

Acta said he is not afraid to use Hagadone the same way he uses Perez, in the seventh inning.

“I don’t see why not,” Acta said. “He’s here. I trust him to do those kinds of things. It looks like he’s going to be here a while, so we’ll be able to test him out.”

Sheldon Ocker can be reached at socker@thebeaconjournal.com. 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.