CLEVELAND (AP) — Indians first baseman Nick Swisher hit off a tee and survived batting practice without feeling stabbing pain in his left shoulder. He’s ready to test it in a game.
Swisher moved closer to returning to Cleveland’s lineup on Friday after missing nearly a week with an injury that has been bothering him most of this season. Swisher had hoped to be available as a pinch hitter for the Indians’ series opener against Minnesota, but manager Terry Francona said it’s more likely that he won’t play until Saturday.
Also, Indians closer Chris Perez threw a bullpen session that Francona said went “very well” as the right-hander tries to come back from a strained right rotator cuff. Perez has been on the disabled list since May 27, and the two-time All-Star had a rough outing earlier this week for Double-A Akron.
Indians All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera took grounders and did some agility drills as he recovers from a leg injury that landed him on the DL on June 4. Cabrera will travel with the team to Baltimore next week, and as long as he doesn’t have any setbacks, he’ll be activated while the Indians are on the road.
Francona said Perez will throw a simulated game on Sunday in Akron and will likely make another rehab appearance before the Indians consider activating him.
Perez gave up five runs — three homers — in one inning earlier this week for the Aeros. Francona said it was Perez’s idea to pitch the simulated game. Earlier this week, Perez said “everything” felt wrong when he faced Trenton and was clobbered during his brief outing.
As for Swisher, he will have to manage his shoulder injury for the remainder of this season. He had been dealing with some pain for several weeks and then aggravated the injury when he took a big swing trying to hit a home run last Saturday against Washington. He has missed Cleveland’s past four games.
Swisher received a cortisone shot on Monday and has been getting treatment. He came to the ballpark and hit off a tee on Thursday, an off day for the Indians. He had typical soreness, but nothing like what he’s been feeling.
“You can deal with the soreness and all that stuff, but the sharp pain is what we’re trying to get rid of,” he said. “And knock on wood, man, whatever they did it really feels good right now.”
Swisher, who signed a four-year, $56 million deal with the Indians in December, has only been on the disabled list once in his career — in 2005 for Oakland– but now that he’s gotten older, the 32-year-old knows he has to take better care of himself.
“I try to take a lot of pride in being on the field,” he said. “This isn’t one of those things that’s kind of going to go away. The biggest thing is to take accountability for it. Those days of showing up at 11:30 (for a day game) and getting ready to play are gone. I need to strengthen my shoulders up a little more.”
Francona intends to be careful with Swisher, but he said it’s vital his first baseman monitor himself.
“He’s going to have to manage it all year and I think he understands that,” Francona said. “This is going to have to be part of his routine.”