Closer Perez has shoulder strain
GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Indians All-Star closer Chris Perez could be sidelined one month because of a strained shoulder.
Perez, who saved 39 games last season, will not throw for the next week to 10 days. Once he resumes his program, the Indians estimate he will be pitching in games in three or four weeks.
It is the second straight spring training Perez has been injured. He strained a muscle in his left side during his first bullpen session on Feb. 23 last year but recovered in time for opening day, when he allowed three runs in the ninth against Toronto in a game the Blue Jays won in 16 innings.
“I’m not saying nothing,” Perez told reporters Friday as he drove out of Cleveland’s spring training complex. He later tweeted: “Small hurdle at an in-opportune time. I feel better now than I did last year with the oblique..Still plenty of time.”
The injury will prevent Perez from playing for the United States in the World Baseball Classic.
Cruz hospitalized over chest issue
SURPRISE, Ariz. — Texas Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz has been hospitalized over what team doctors diagnosed as a muscle strain in his chest.
Assistant general manager Thad Levine (luh-VEEN’) said Friday that Cruz was sent to a hospital to rule out anything more serious than a muscle problem.
Cruz was set to leave Sunday to join the Dominican Republic for the World Baseball Classic. He leads the Rangers with five RBIs this spring training, although he’s hitting just .214.
The 32-year-old Cruz played a career-high 159 games last season, hitting .260 with 24 home runs and 90 RBIs.
Mark Prior inks minor league contract
SURPRISE, Ariz. — Mark Prior is making yet another pitch to return to the big leagues.
The 32-year-old Prior has signed a minor league contract with the Cincinnati Reds, marking the fourth straight spring the oft-injured righty has tried a comeback.
Prior has not been in the majors since 2006. He pitched for Boston in Triple-A last season, making 19 relief appearances with a 3.96 ERA.
This move reunites Prior and Reds manager Dusty Baker. They were together with the Chicago Cubs several years ago, and Prior was an All-Star in 2003 when the team came close to reaching the World Series.
“He called me in the winter. We talk sometimes. He sends my wife updates on the kids,” Baker said Friday. “He never asked me for anything. He said, ‘Hey man, I’d like to try it one more time.’ I told him, ‘If I can help you, I’ll make the opportunity.’”
Crawford could miss opener due to elbow
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford could miss his team’s April 1 opener against San Francisco after leaving spring training to have his elbow examined in Los Angeles.
Recovering from elbow ligament-replacement surgery on Aug. 23, Crawford felt nerve irritation in his left arm. The Dodgers said Friday he was examined a day earlier by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who prescribed anti-inflammatory medication and told Crawford to rest.
Crawford was back in camp Friday and will not take batting practice or throw for about seven days, according to Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. Crawford will be able to participate in other drills.
Mattingly called the nerve irritation a “setback.”
“To be honest with you, opening day is a question,” Mattingly said