March 23, 2012

Chris Perez cleared to pitch in minor league game Saturday

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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.