CLEVELAND -- Closer Chris Perez blew off reporters after blowing a save in a tough loss to the Tigers on Monday night. One day later, manager Terry Francona downplayed the fact that Perez left Progressive Field without making himself available to the media.
"Guys aren't forced to," Francona said on Tuesday. "In a perfect world, guys stand in front of their locker. Sometimes it's not a perfect world."
Perez, who made plenty of headlines last season for his outspokenness, has pulled a total reversal over the past several weeks. Since returning from the disabled list in late June, he has made it clear that he will no longer do on-the-record interviews with local reporters.
He held his ground when a group of media members approached his locker prior to Tuesday's game against Detroit.
"I'm not talking the rest of the year," Perez said. "Quit asking."
In the ninth inning of Monday's 4-2 loss, Perez surrendered four runs on three hits before being pulled by Francona without recording a single out. He had posted a 0.95 ERA, with 11 saves in as many chances, in his previous 18 games dating back to his return from an injured right shoulder on June 28.
On Monday he was pitching for the third day in a row, but Francona was not going to read too much into his pitcher's performance considering his strong run of late.
"C.P. blew a save last night," Francona said. "If I end up reinventing because of last night, I would have a hard time answering questions. I was disappointed we lost the game -- very disappointed. I wouldn't have done anything different. And I think, if you think it through, you'd probably come to the same conclusion."
Though a few of Perez's teammates expressed displeasure about his decision to leave the ballpark without taking responsibility for his performance, they did not want to be directly quoted, and Francona is not concerned that the issue would become a problem for the team.
"I don't think it's worrisome," Francona said. "I think those things with a team have a way of working themselves out -- and it doesn't necessarily have to be in public. I think that's where teams kind of come together and take care of team things."
As for speaking to reporters in general, Francona reiterated that it is not required.
"It's his personal choice," he said. "I think we try to foster an environment where -- good, bad, in between -- guys are accountable. Some guys choose to not talk. Like I said, it's not always a perfect world."