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.”
Here are the Cubs and Pirates lineups for tonight’s Wild Card game in Pittsburgh:
CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
LF Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
3B Tommy La Stella
2B Starlin Castro
C Miguel Montero
SS Addison Russell
SP Jake Arrieta
Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted Tommy La Stella in the lineup over Jorge Soler or Chris Coghlan, so he starts at third base and Kris Bryant shifts to left field. Bryant started just four games in left field all season, compared to 136 starts at third base. Also of note: After batting Addison Russell ninth–behind the pitcher–116 times this season Maddon has him in the more traditional eighth spot tonight.
RF Gregory Polanco
3B Josh Harrison
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Starling Marte
C Francisco Cervelli
2B Neil Walker
SS Jordy Mercer
1B Sean Rodriguez
SP Gerrit Cole
Pedro Alvarez started 119 games at first base for the Pirates and with right-hander Jake Arrieta on the mound he was the presumed starter tonight, but instead manager Clint Hurdle has benched the 27-homer slugger in favor of utility man Sean Rodriguez. Alvarez is vastly superior to Rodriguez offensively, especially versus a righty, but he’s also very shaky defensively. During the regular season Rodriguez started a grand total of one game at first base against a right-hander, so this qualifies as a hunch by Hurdle.