Perez breaks media boycott, says playoffs are what matters
MINNEAPOLIS -- Chris Perez ended his media boycott Sunday.
Perhaps that’s not necessarily big news
But Perez gave a friendly, enjoyable and informative interview with those present at Target Field after the Indians clinched a wild card spot. Perez had been boycotting the media since late June.
“It’s the end of the year,” he said. “I told you I wouldn’t talk until the end of the year. A lot of stuff’s happened this year for me, and I stick to my word. I wasn’t going to talk to you until the end of the year.”
Perez also explained what he said to manager Terry Francona on Thursday after he gave up four runs in a 6-5 Indians win that almost wasn’t.
“I’m here to help the team,” Perez said. “I went into Tito’s office the other night and said, ‘I’m not going to cost this team a playoff spot, we need to make a change right now. We’ve got four or five guys throwing the (crap) out of the ball. I don’t have an ego. Make the change.’ And he did. And that’s fine.
“Coming into the year, fans would ask me what’s your goals for this year, and I would say I would take 20 saves if we made the playoffs. We made the playoffs.”
Joe Smith finished Saturday’s win, and Justing Masterson finished the clincher -- providing an inkling to the direction the Indians seem to be heading in the postseason.
Perez was his old honest and friendly self during the interview. He called this season “magical,” but he did not hide from his struggles.
“I’ve had a rough couple months, but you can’t pick when that’s going to happen,” Perez said. “This game can humble you fast. I still feel like I can contribute to this team. It’s terrible when it happens late in the year and you’re in it.”
A year ago, Perez was critical of manager Manny Acta and the team’s front office. Sunday, he praised the same front office and new manager Terry Francona.
“I can’t say enough about what Tito does for this team,” he said. “You saw us this week. It was like it was June. It didn’t feel like it was September and we were a game out or a game ahead.”
Perez said there was some inaccurate reporting about his arrest for having marijuana sent to his home earlier this season, but he just decided to “focus on baseball.”
He said nothing off the field affected him on, that his struggles were purely about his mechanics.
“I think from day one I’ve been fighting with mechanics,” he said. “Low, high, I can’t find my natural spot. I’m going to try the best I can to get ready for the playoffs and try to help the team. But the offseason will be good for me. Taking that rest. Coming back fresh the next year and finding my natural spot.
“That’s just one of those things. Like I said you can’t pinpoint when it’s going to happen. Ubaldo (Jimenez) last year, he was fighting his mechanics. He found it the last two and a half months and now he’s untouchable.”