Rafael Perez showed significantly diminished velocity in his last outing, with his fastball topping out in the mid-80s, and not surprisingly it turns out he was injured.
Cleveland has placed Perez on the disabled list with a strained lat muscle in his shoulder, recalling Nick Hagadone from Triple-A to replace him on the roster.
Perez has been a key setup man for the Indians during the past five seasons, posting an ERA under 3.50 in four of those years, but the 30-year-old left-hander’s average fastball velocity has gone from 90.7 miles per hour in 2010 to 89.3 mph in 2011 to 87.7 mph this year.
No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.
Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.
Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.