MINNEAPOLIS -- The Indians' search for stability in their bullpen continued on Saturday, when the team signed veteran lefty Oliver Perez to a Major League contract.In order to add Perez to the active and 40-man roster, Cleveland designated lefty Jeff Beliveau for assignment. Perez became the 15th reliever used this
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Indians' search for stability in their bullpen continued on Saturday, when the team signed veteran lefty Oliver Perez to a Major League contract.
In order to add Perez to the active and 40-man roster, Cleveland designated lefty Jeff Beliveau for assignment. Perez became the 15th reliever used this season by the Indians, who headed into Saturday with an MLB-high 6.01 bullpen ERA. The Tribe relief corps posted an 8.01 ERA in May, marking the highest bullpen ERA in any month in franchise history (min. 40 innings).
"Hopefully this is a guy who can help us out with the lefties," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He's been there and done it. And, by all accounts, he's actually been throwing the ball pretty well and he's healthy. So, we'll add him to the mix and see if he can help us."
Francona wasted no time in using the new acquisition in the 7-1 loss to the Twins. Perez entered in the sixth with runners on second and third. His first pitch eluded catcher Roberto Perez, who was charged with a passed ball that allowed a run to score. Perez returned for the seventh and struck out the side.
After being released by the Reds near the end of Spring Training, the 36-year-old Perez signed a Minor League contract with the Yankees on March 30. The lefty opted out of that deal and was granted his release on Friday. In 15 appearances for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this year, the left-hander has a 2.92 ERA with 13 strikeouts and three walks in 12 1/3 innings.
For his career, which includes stints with seven Major League teams across parts of 15 seasons, Perez has turned in a 4.46 ERA in 552 games with 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings. The reliever has limited lefty batters to a .231 average (.683 OPS) in his career, and held them to a .227 average (.665 OPS) last season with the Nationals.
Overall in the 2017 campaign, Perez appeared in 50 games for Washington, finishing with a 4.64 ERA, 39 strikeouts and 12 walks in 33 innings.
"He's got a lot of deception -- quirky in his delivery," Francona said. "[Pitching coach Carl Willis] was with him in Seattle, so he knows him, said he's a good kid. When [president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti] told me it was a possibility, I got excited, because I think he can help us."
• With the addition of Perez, Francona is hoping to ease the work load of left-hander Tyler Olson, who entered Saturday tied for the team lead in appearances (24). Olson has held lefty batters to a .129 average (.350 OPS) through 32 plate appearances, but righties have hit .355 (1.106 OPS) in 35 plate appearances against the reliever.
"We've gotten into games where you can't just match up where you want," Francona said. "Olson doesn't have the biggest frame. We don't want him to wear down. He's also a kid that will pitch every day. As much as we appreciate it, man, that's not healthy. He's a different pitcher when he's nice and crisp, as opposed to wearing down a bit."
• Andrew Miller (10-day disabled list, right knee) has been playing catch regularly and is planning on throwing off the mound in a bullpen session on Sunday at Target Field. There is still no date for a Minor League rehab assignment or an announced timetable for the left-hander's return to the Tribe 'pen.
• Outfielder Brandon Guyer (10-day DL, neck strain) went 0-for-3 in his latest Minor League rehab game for Triple-A Columbus on Friday. Lonnie Chisenhall (10-day DL, right calf) received the day off. Outfielder Tyler Naquin (10-day DL, left hamstring) will serve as the designated hitter in a Minor League rehab game with Double-A Akron on Sunday.
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.