BALTIMORE -- There remains no clear sense of when left-handed reliever Rafael Perez might be ready to rejoin the Indians' bullpen. All Cleveland has conveyed is some optimism that the lefty will pitch again for the team this season.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Tribe's left-handed options have labored.
"Just like everything in life," Acta said, "you don't know how much you're going to miss somebody until they're actually not there."
Prior to Thursday's game against the Orioles, the Indians optioned left-hander Scott Barnes (7.71 ERA in five appearances) to Triple-A Columbus in order to promote right-handed starter Zach McAllister. In Perez's absence, the Indians have relied on lefties Tony Sipp, Nick Hagadone and Barnes.
Perez, who fought velocity issues early on this year, was placed on the disabled list on April 26 with a strained left lat muscle. The lefty -- in his seventh season with the Indians -- had a 3.52 ERA through eight games before being shelved.
Last season, Perez and Sipp formed a solid one-two left-handed punch out of the bullpen. This year, Sipp has struggled to the tune of a 6.66 ERA through 29 appearances. Over his last nine outings, the lefty has posted an 8.68 ERA with half of his hits allowed (5-of-10) being home runs.
Hagadone -- a rookie reliever for the Indians -- has posted an 18.00 ERA (12 earned runs on 14 hits in six innings) in his last eight appearances, entering Thursday. Before that ugly stretch, the 26-year-old lefty had a 2.04 ERA in his first 17 outings.
The combined woes of Sipp and Hagadone of late have made the loss of Perez more noticeable.
"He's a very durable guy who has done a very good job for us," Acta said of Perez. "I think we have been able to notice missing him more because of the struggles Tony has had. He was a guy that when he was here, and either one of them were struggling, we could lean on the other guy up until the other guy came out of it."