"It wasn't a tough decision," Francona said. "You don't know how a game's going to go, whether it's nine, 10, 11, 12 innings. Given the right situation, he could find his way into a game. He's got 20-something saves. He's run into some tough outings lately.
"He's done everything with the right attitude, so I think we wanted to put him on."
Francona has avoided naming a specific ninth-inning arm and will continue to employ a closer-by-committee approach for the bullpen, which includes such options as Justin Masterson, Cody Allen and Joe Smith, among others.
Perez -- stripped of his role on Friday, in Minnesota -- threw off a mound on Sunday and pitched a simulated game on Monday to work on some mechanical issues. The right-hander finished the regular season with 25 saves, but he allowed six runs in his final two appearances and posted a 7.52 ERA over the final two months.
Francona noted that Perez willingly accepted a new role in order to help the Tribe's run to the postseason. After giving up four runs in the ninth inning of Thursday's 6-5 win over the Twins, Perez told Francona that he understood if he needed to make a change.
"He's wanted to be on a winner so bad," Francona said. "That day that everything culminated in Minnesota, he wasn't bailing. He just saw a team that had a chance to win, and he was recognizing that he was scuffling, and he said, 'I'll do anything. I'll pitch in the fifth or sixth.'"
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.