CLEVELAND -- Rafael Perez is clearing his final hurdles before he returns to the Indians.
The southpaw, who hasn't pitched since April 25 due to a left lat strain, could rejoin the Tribe's bullpen as early as next week. Perez threw a bullpen session on Friday. Before he returns, the Indians want him to either pitch on consecutive days or toss more than one inning in an effort to check his endurance.
"If he does it back to back, it'll be Monday and Tuesday," manager Manny Acta said. "If we change our mind and decide to see him first do an inning-plus, then we'll pick a day."
Before landing on the disabled list in late April, Perez compiled a 3.52 ERA in eight appearances. The Indians' other left-handed options out of the bullpen have struggled during Perez's absence. Tony Sipp has a 5.70 ERA in 37 outings. Nick Hagadone posted a 6.39 ERA in 27 games before sustaining a self-inflicted and potentially season-ending left hand injury. Rookie Scott Barnes racked up an 8.10 ERA in seven appearances before being optioned to Triple-A Columbus on Friday.