GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Friends, teammates and back-end bullpen arms, Chris Perez and Vinnie Pestano were eager to put on the Team USA uniform together for the upcoming World Baseball Classic. But that opportunity disappeared when Perez injured his shoulder this week, leaving Pestano as Cleveland's lone representative on the American squad.
"I was looking forward to the Indians being represented late in the game," Pestano said. "Our eighth-and-ninth-inning combo has been pretty good the last couple years, and I think it would've been cool to see that in this tournament."
Pestano, the Indians' setup man, is friends with a few other guys on the team, but he will miss sharing the experience with Perez.
"I know a few guys from different circles, Fall League teams, really good friends of friends, stuff like that," he said. "I like to think I don't have trouble making friends. Obviously not having CP will make it a little more difficult, but we've all been around enough clubhouses to know how to interact and mingle."
Even though Pestano was disappointed by Perez's injury, Pestano did not express concern about injuring himself.
"I'm the kind of pitcher where everything is max 100 percent every time," Pestano said. "So I don't think mentally, I'm going to be trying to do so much more out there that I'm not doing right now in games. Adrenaline has a little to do with it though; there will be a little bit more oomph to it. But for the most part, it's not like I'm going out there still trying to figure stuff out; I'm 100 percent. I'm not expecting any fallback or anything like that."
Indians manager Terry Francona, on the other hand, does worry about his pitcher possibly pushing too hard too fast so early on.
"There's no way around it, but guys all the sudden play up to the competition level," Francona said. "Here they are not trying to make that 3-2 breaking ball with the bases loaded because they are just not ready to do that. You're amped up quicker than you're supposed to be. It's nobody's fault, I love the idea of the WBC, I just wish there could be a better timetable. There's no way to make it work though, I understand that."