All signs are pointing toward Chris Perez being available for Opening Day.
Perez, who has been sidelined since suffering a strained right oblique on April 24, threw 20 pitches Wednesday in a simulated game without incident and has now been cleared for game action. According to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com, the Indians’ closer will pitch in a minor league game tomorrow.
The goal appears to be to break him against lesser competition in a more casual environment before he makes his Cactus League debut. He should only need a handful of appearances to get ready for the start of the season.
Perez, 26, posted a 3.32 ERA and 39/26 K/BB ratio over 59 2/3 innings last season while saving 36 games in 40 chances. While it was a quality year on the surface, which included his first All-Star appearance, his strikeout rate dropped to an alarming 5.88 K/9 and he posted a 4.44 ERA during the second half.
The Diamondbacks announced on Monday that the club signed catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year, $4 million contract.
Mathis, 33, isn’t much with the stick as he owns a career .197/.254/.308 triple-slash line over parts of 12 seasons in the majors. The veteran, though, is well-regarded for his ability to play defense, call games, handle a pitching staff, and get along with his teammates in the clubhouse. As Craig mentioned last year, Mathis is often talked about as a future manager.
The D-Backs non-tendered Welington Castillo on Friday, so Chris Herrmann and Mathis are the team’s two catchers as presently constructed.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent shortstop Jimmy Rollins wants to continue playing in 2017.
Rollins, 38, signed a minor league deal with the White Sox for the 2016 season but hit a disappointing .221/.295/.329 over 166 plate appearances. The club released Rollins in the middle of June and he did not sign with a new team. He did join TBS as part of their playoff coverage.
Rollins is almost certainly looking at another minor league contract and will have to earn his way onto a major league roster by performing well in spring training.