With the World Baseball Classic clearly visible within the next few days through every team’s front windshield, the Cleveland Indians have one less player leaving them to play in it. Sadly enough the only reason he isn’t playing in the WBC is because he is injured. Indians closer Chris Perez was itching to go to the classic so bad that he started his throwing program early this year to make sure he would be ready physically when the WBC came calling. That is smart but the shoulder strain he suffered will keep him out of it.
From the Indians perspective this is bad news but not catastrophic. They were already planning to have to look at other pitchers closing games while Perez was playing in the WBC. Now the only difference is that Perez isn’t playing anywhere. The added bonus of having to look at other closing pitchers is that they can choose who the interim closer will be while Perez is gone.
As for as the injury goes, how long Perez is kept from pitching by the strain will determine how much work it will take to bring him back up to playing strength. If the tribe is lucky they might be able to have Perez back by the first of the season. If they aren’t going to have him back by then however, they will already have the backup slotted. That’s a big deal because the Indians need Perez to get fully healthy before coming back. Just like with other teams with closer problems, rushing to get back now for opening day isn’t important enough to risk missing the last half of the season.