CLEVELAND -- When Indians manager Terry Francona hopped on Zoom to address the surgery that catcher Roberto Pérez underwent to repair his fractured right ring finger on Friday afternoon, he hadn’t yet received the full update from the doctor. But the one thing he did know was that Pérez won’t be back for months.
The Indians later announced that hand specialist Dr. Thomas Graham informed them that Pérez’s estimated timeline to return to play is eight to 10 weeks. In order to stabilize the fracture, Pérez needed to have three pins inserted into his hand.
“I mean, it’s not weeks. It’s months,” Francona said, when asked about Pérez’s timeline. “Anything that we pass along, it’s gonna be a rough estimate just because, again, we’ve been through this before. It’s not perfect.”
Pérez flew to Dayton, Ohio, on Thursday morning to meet Dr. Graham but, at the time, the team did not specify that surgery would be needed.
“I think we knew going in and we were just trying to be fair and respectful to Berto,” Francona said. “I think we felt like surgery was probably more probable than not.”
Pérez first suffered the injury on April 13 in Chicago when he got crossed up on a pitch from reliever James Karinchak. As Pérez got out of his squat to catch what he thought was a high fastball, the pitch broke, and as Pérez reacted, the ball clipped his right ring finger, creating the fracture. He attempted to play through it, but the pain became too much to bear and the club placed him on the 10-day injured list on Wednesday.
Pérez posted a picture of himself in his hospital bed on his Instagram story on Friday, saying his procedure was finished and that he will be back soon. But in the meantime, Francona is working through how he will split time between backups Austin Hedges and René Rivera behind the dish.
“I would say we’ll see how it goes,” Francona said. “I think it’s easy to say 'Well, René had three hits yesterday, why don’t you play him today?' But that was his first game that he’s actually caught nine innings. So, we don’t want to overdo him either. So, we’ll try to use good judgment. My guess is you’ll see Hedges catch more, maybe not quite as much as Roberto was.”