Roberto Perez battles illness, returns to form

2018 has been rough for the catcher

Alex Hooper
June 19, 2018 - 12:07 am
Jun 18, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians catcher Roberto Perez (55) hits a two-run double in the second inning against the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field.

© David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Cleveland Indians catcher Roberto Perez might be willing to take on the plague if it meant he can play the way that he did on Monday night against the Chicago White Sox.

The backup backstop put forth a 2-for-3 night with two doubles, the first of which plated two runs in the bottom of the 2nd. An inning and a half prior, he threw out would-be base-stealer Yoan Moncada for a double play after Trevor Bauer struck out Yolmer Sanchez.

Perez did all of this with a very apparent illness, one he thought would hold him out of the contest all together.

“I need to be sick for the rest of the season,” the 29-year-old joked, sounding as if he had been losing a battle with a head cold. “I didn’t have any energy today, coming into the game I didn’t know if I was going to play or not because of the way I felt. But it was just, bases loaded and I was trying to put the ball in play and not trying to do too much. Maybe that’s what I need.”

2018 has not been kind to the catcher, health-wise or at the dish, slashing .136/.228/.210 in 92 plate appearances. Perez also came into the game with four throwing errors, double his total from 2016 and 2017 combined in just under 21% of the innings.

Moncada was just the second base-stealer that Perez had thrown out in 14 attempts, but it was key in keeping the White Sox from getting momentum early in the game. What followed was 6 1/3 dominant innings from the righty, allowing two hits and two walks from that point on.

The pitcher cited his battery-mate’s condition and gave him unsolicited praise.

“(Perez) did a tremendous job behind the plate blocking balls. He got me out of a big spot. Leadoff guy gets on and he throws him out at second for a double play,” Bauer said. “He caught a couple foul tips. And then obviously he swung the bat really well, too.”

Despite his struggles throwing, Perez still sits 15th in baseball in framing runs above average. That was not enough to keep the catcher from working with Sandy Alomar Jr. to regain his prowess as one of the best defensive catchers in the league.

“I was just having trouble. Guys getting good jumps. You have a tendency as a catcher to try and rush things and try to throw the guy out,” Perez said. “But I’ve been working with Sandy on my transfer and trying to stay back a little longer. It was good to finally throw a guy out since I’ve had a couple of bad ones. It was kind of like good to set the tone first thing for Bauer.”