Cleveland Indians Injuries: Chris Perez leaves game in ninth with shoulder injury

Jim Rogash

As if there weren't enough drama in the ninth inning today, Perez added more by leaving the game with a shoulder injury.

Let's look beyond today's soul-crushing loss to the near future of this bullpen. After a stressful 30 pitches, hunched over after throwing a pitch to Jacoby Ellsbury. The training staff was called out, he threw a practice pitch, which went to the backstop, and was promptly removed from the game.

Terry Francona said after the game that Perez had felt pain in his right shoulder, and would have it examined tomorrow. Given that it's his throwing shoulder, I'd be shocked if the Indians didn't place him on the DL before tomorrow's game. Perez had been dealing with "stiffness" in the shoulder, but apparently the stressful inning was too much for it.

"I've been dealing with a little thing for the last couple weeks," Perez said, "but we stayed on top of it and it had been getting better, but today it just took a couple steps back."

With Vinnie Pestano not pitching well either, the Indians suddenly find themselves with a massive problem on their hands. If you assume that Perez is out of action for at least a couple weeks, and may take another couple outings for Pestano to get back on track, there will be quite a bit of shuffling of roles in the bullpen.

The good news is that there some candidates that can be used in the late innings. Joe Smith, Cody Allen, and Bryan Shaw are capable of filling those late inning roles, though that means they'll be leaning on guys like Matt Albers and Scott Barnes to pitch important middle inning relief.

Nick Hagadone would be the logical choice to take Perez's spot on the 25-man roster (assuming Chris is going to the DL). There's also the possibility that the Indians could use Brett Myers in the bullpen, as last year he pitched in relief for Houston and the White Sox. With Corey Kluber pitching well, I would think the Indians would want to keep him in the rotation, and moving Myers to the bullpen would take care of two different problems at once.

This is a problem that the Indians are going to have to address on the fly, as the schedule will remain extremely difficult through the middle of June, and any chances the Indians get to win a game will probably involve that back end of the bullpen.

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