From beat writer Nick Camino of WTAM 1100 in Cleveland comes word that Indians closer Chris Perez is expected to be sidelined for the next 4-6 weeks after suffering a left internal oblique strain during his first bullpen session of the spring.
Tribe trainer Lonnie Soloff told reporters Sunday in camp that Perez’s “body wasn’t ready for the intensity” of the throwing session, hinting at a possible offseason conditioning issue.
The Indians aren’t ruling him out for Opening Day, but Perez would have to return on the early side of his recovery timetable and then really grind over the final few weeks of spring training in order to avoid landing on the season-opening disabled list.
If Perez isn’t ready, look for talented setup man Vinnie Pestano to handle save chances in the early going.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.