Tribe gets All-Star closer back, options rookie left-hander House to Triple-A
BALTIMORE -- The Indians have the back end of their bullpen in order again.
Prior to Thursday's game against the Orioles, Cleveland activated All-Star closer Chris Perez from the 15-day disabled list, following his bout with a strained right rotator cuff. To vacate a spot on the active roster, the Indians optioned rookie left-hander T.J. House to Triple-A Columbus.
Right-hander Vinnie Pestano, who saved five games as the interim closer while Perez was out, will return to his customary setup role. That will also allow sidearmer Joe Smith to shift back to the primary seventh-inning duties for the Tribe.
"Having [Perez] back is great," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "But once we get into a flow where everybody is [clicking], that'll be really good. That'll be helpful."
Perez completed a Minor League rehab assignment with Class A short-season Mahoning Valley on Tuesday, logging one strikeout in one inning. That represented the final step in the rehab process for Perez, who was shelved with the shoulder injury after an outing against the Red Sox on May 26 in Boston.
Francona said on Wednesday that Perez's last rehab game went well, and the team planned on activating him for the series finale in Baltimore.
"He felt good. The reports were good. He did a good job," Francona said Wednesday. "And I know it's kind of popular thinking that C.P. sort of has his own opinions and everything, but he couldn't have been better with us in communicating and doing what we asked and being honest."
Perez has a 4.32 ERA in 17 appearances, during which he has six saves, 18 strikeouts and 10 walks in 16 2/3 innings. The right-hander's line is marred by his last three outings, which included a 23.63 ERA (seven runs, five walks, five hits and three strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings). Prior to that stretch, Perez posted an 0.64 ERA in his first 14 games.
House was called up from Triple-A on Monday to give Cleveland an extra bullpen arm, but the 23-year-old lefty did not appear in a game.