UPDATE: OK, so things are getting even weirder. Perez left the ballpark without speaking to reporters, choosing instead to yell from his car: “I’m not saying anything.”
UPDATE #2: No official statement from the Indians yet, but Perez is apparently injured.
UPDATE #3: Perez has been diagnosed with a strained right shoulder and will be shut down from all throwing for 7-10 days. He’s expected to miss 3-4 weeks, which means he won’t pitch in the World Baseball Classic and may not be ready for Opening Day. As for why Perez and the Indians handled the whole situation so oddly … who knows.
Something is up with Indians closer Chris Perez.
He was supposed to make an appearance in today’s game, but those plans were canceled and Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that manager Terry Francona was “mysterious” when asked about it by the media.
Francona said the team would have more information tomorrow, which is pretty odd in itself considering teams almost always give at least an initial update on injuries, and the Indians later made a statement saying only: “We’re working through some things with him.”
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.