The Indians closer, battling a shoulder strain, should be ready on Opening Day according to manager Terry Francona. Via MLB.com’s Barry M. Bloom:
Francona said that Perez can pitch every other day beginning Tuesday as Spring Training winds down, and then will throw a light ‘pen session on April 1, the day before the start of the regular season.
As far as him being ready to start the season on the active roster, Francona said:
“I think everything leans toward that as long as there are no setbacks, which I don’t think there will be. I think he’s looking pretty good.”
Perez himself thinks he’s ready as well:
In 57.2 innings last year, the right-hander posted a 3.59 ERA with 39 saves in his third season as the team’s closer.
Last night’s Angels-Astros game was a long affair with a bunch of homers and the use of 11 pitchers in all. The Angels used six pitchers and all of that business led to plenty of conferences. Six, in fact, which is their allotment under the new rule capping mound visits. As far as I can tell, that makes the Angels the first team to use up all of their mound visits since the advent of the rule.
Sadly, they did not try to go for a seventh, thereby testing the currently unknown limits of the rule. Umpires have been instructed to not allow additional mound visits, but they cannot issue balls or tackle anyone or anything to enforce it. Presumably, if Maldonado had walked out to talk to Cam Bedrosian about the weather or where he was going to dinner after the game, the home plate umpire would’ve simply done the old Robin Williams English policeman’s bit of yelling “Stop! . . . or I shall yell ‘Stop!’ again!” Maybe a fine would issue later, but we’ll never know.
At least until someone breaks the limit. And we know someone will, right? We should have a betting pool on who does it.