Perez learned lessons in closer role

Perez learned lessons in closer role

CLEVELAND -- Chris Perez was the Indians' full-time closer during Kerry Wood's absence, but it turned out to be a part-time role.

In more than a month on the job, Perez had just six save opportunities. He didn't have any from April 20 to May 4.

"Obviously, I would have liked to have a couple more opportunities in save situations," Perez said. "But I can't control that."

Perez is in a setup role now that Wood is off the disabled list, but he could be back in the closer's role if the Indians make a trade involving Wood this summer or if they turn elsewhere for the ninth-inning duties in 2011. So consider the season's first month to be the 24-year-old Perez's audition. He went 4-for-6 in save opportunities and posted a 2.89 ERA in 11 appearances. All four of his saves came against the White Sox. He blew the save April 11 in Detroit and Wednesday against the Blue Jays.

"[Moving from the closer's role to a setup role] could be a blessing in disguise," Perez said. "I'll be able to still get in the game, even when we're losing, and try to keep us close."

Perez learned a thing or two about the accountability that comes with being a closer. To his credit, he was always at his locker postgame, even after the blown saves. But he made some headlines when he critiqued catcher Lou Marson in the season's first week and said some colorful things about the Angels' Howard Kendrick's game-winning bunt single April 28.

"I tell the truth and how I think it is," Perez said. "Either you like it or you don't. You can't please everybody all the time."