"No pain or anything -- just a little rusty," Perez said Saturday. "We'll see how it goes tomorrow. If I throw like I did yesterday, I'll probably need another appearance ... I wasn't very sharp yesterday. It felt like my first appearance of the year, in Spring Training."
Perez, 27, said the shoulder injury first began to bother him on May 11, when he recorded a save in Detroit. As he continued to pitch through the discomfort, his performances got worse and worse. In the three outings before his visit to the 15-day disabled list, Perez allowed seven runs on five hits and five walks in 2 2/3 innings.
"I just kind of wasn't myself," he said. "I could throw with velocity and stuff, but it wasn't, you know, the same kind of action or the same kind of finish that my pitches usually have. Obviously, I made some bad locations, too.
"It's stupid to keep running out there. ... We have a good enough bullpen where I can miss some time and the guys can pick up the slack, which they have."
It's unclear whether Perez will need an additional rehab outing beyond Sunday. Both he and Tribe manager Terry Francona stressed that the closer will only return to Cleveland's bullpen when he's completely healthy.
"I think he feels really good," Francona said. "I just think, again, he needs some reps to get his command where he wants it. If it takes once, we'll do once. If it takes more than that, we'll do more than that."
Said Perez: "We tried to pitch through it, and obviously you guys saw, the results weren't that good. And in my position, we need to win those games when I come in the game. So, it's frustrating, but at the same time, it's a process and I just want to not feel any pain, which I'm at right now, which is good."
Perez made it clear that his current shoulder injury is completely different from the one that had him on the DL to start the season. In 17 games this year, Perez is 2-1 with a 4.32 ERA. He has also converted six of eight save opportunities.
The closer said he's implementing an entirely new warmup routine to ensure that he doesn't start throwing before his body is ready for such action. As a younger player, Perez said he could basically roll out of bed and begin tossing the ball around whenever he desired.
"Hot tub, stretching, a bunch of stuff, nothing nobody else doesn't do," Perez said. "It's kind of different for me, because I don't pitch until later in the game, so some of it's actually in the bullpen. I'm going to start doing, you know, band exercises and stuff just to make sure I'm warmed up so I don't get these strains anymore."
Perez was relieved that the injury did not require surgery. He said his task now will revolve around harnessing command and building arm strength. He's committed to coming back and helping the Indians, who entered Saturday having won three straight games after dropping eight in a row.
"I have talked to him at length," Francona said. "I'm very comfortable that he'll be just fine, and he's in a good place."