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Published: Wednesday, 5/23/2012

Indians' Perez stands by comments on fans

Tribe closer says he's not bothered by boos

BY DAVID BRIGGS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Chris Perez has 13 saves this season. Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Chris Perez has 13 saves this season.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge

CLEVELAND -- On the afternoon of the Indians' biggest game of the season to date, a sports radio show in Cleveland spent hours debating a question.

Which of Tuesday's local events would fans rather attend: the first-place Tribe's series opener against rival Detroit or the Browns' no-pads workout in suburban Berea?

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Welcome to Cleveland, where the passion for football -- even bad football -- is matched only by the fire Chris Perez continues to direct at Indians fans.

The all-star closer did not back down Tuesday from his weekend comments criticizing Indians fans for failing to support the team, at one point saying, "I could care less who is taking snaps at Browns quarterback."

Perez said he is tired of being jeered at home during high-wire save opportunities and of playing before swaths of vacant seats.

The Indians' average attendance of 15,188 through 22 home games ranks last in the majors.

Perez, who has 13 saves, said he is unhappy, but added, "That doesn't mean I want out."

"You're allowed to be unhappy in your work situation," he said. "I'm not going anywhere as long as I keep getting saves. The team's not going to trade me as long as I'm getting saves. I know that.

"If I really wanted out, I would start taking it on the field, be injured, be a bad teammate, not talk to you guys, tell the fans [off], not sign autographs, all that stuff. I want to win. My friends are here. I like it here. I'm comfortable here. I'm not out. I'm in."

Perez's comments have divided Indians fans, lending to yet another debate: How will Perez be greeted during his next save opportunity?

"If I knew that, I'll be hitting the lotto on Sunday and I don't think you'll be seeing me Monday," Acta said. "I can't answer that."

Perez said he didn't care how fans react.

"Hopefully they're loud and make it hard for the other team," Perez said. "If I get booed as soon as they introduce me, I'll feel like it's a road game and I'll probably shove it up the other team's butt."

NO MOMENTUM: Detroit manager Jim Leyland scoffed at the suggestion Max Scherzer's 15-strikeout tour de force Sunday could help stir the Tigers out of their early malaise.

The baseball gods do not work this way, Leyland said, noting the Tigers' loss to the Pirates on Saturday after ace Justin Verlander threw a one-hitter a night earlier.

"That's why there's no momentum in baseball," he said. "There's no such thing. It's a different pitcher every day. It's not like you have the same point guard, the same forward, the same center, and you win some big games and you're on a roll with the same guys. The biggest factor of the next game is the pitcher."

WELCOME BACK: Danny Worth is growing acquainted with the stretch of I-75 North between Toledo and Detroit.

The Tigers recalled the infielder for the third time this season Tuesday after placing second baseman Ryan Raburn on the bereavement list. Worth, who Detroit optioned to Toledo last week, has batted .306 with seven doubles and three homers in 18 games for the Mud Hens.

Raburn will miss at least three games because of a death in his family.

LATE-NIGHT SCRAP: Indians reliever Joe Smith declined to address his alleged involvement in a bar altercation early Monday morning in Put-in-Bay.

According to a police report obtained by ABC's Cleveland affiliate, Smith's attempt to enter the Roundhouse Bar without identification touched off a confrontation with security. Smith and his friend were restrained by police but no charges were filed.

EXTRA INNINGS: Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson was a late scratch with a strained abdomen. ... Detroit closer Jose Valverde (strained back) was available Tuesday for the first time in a week. ... Josh Tomlin moved closer to rejoining the Tribe's rotation Tuesday after reporting no pain in a 30-pitch bullpen session. Tomlin, sidelined since May 7 with a sore right wrist, will throw a simulated game in the coming days. If all goes well, Acta said the 27-year-old right-hander will make his return start for the Indians -- not on a minor league rehab assignment.

Twins let starter Jason Marquis go

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins are barely one-fourth of the way through the season and they are about to use their ninth starting pitcher.

This certainly wasn't part of their plan when they left spring training. The Twins are hoping that the latest rookie reinforcement for their depleted rotation will mimic the recent call-ups and help stabilize the struggling group.

Right-hander Jason Marquis was removed from the roster on Tuesday, ending his stint with the Twins after just seven starts. General manager Terry Ryan said he is trying to trade Marquis, but he is unlikely to be sent to Triple-A Rochester, an assignment the 13-year veteran has the right to refuse. If no deal is reached in 10 days, Marquis would be released. The Twins signed him for $3 million this season.



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