ZEBULON, N.C. -- Closer Chris Perez, who has recovered from an oblique injury, was jovial as he signed autographs and joked with fans Tuesday. He simulated back-to-back action during a throwing session Monday and throwing in the bullpen before Tuesday's exhibition, and his genuine excitement for game action was shown through his interaction with fans and reporters.
"I'm ready to go," Perez said. "I feel good, I feel strong and my body is responding well. It's not the most ideal of circumstances, missing four months of Spring Training, but it is what it is. It might be a battle, but I'm going to roll with it."
Manager Manny Acta said he has options if Perez has to work lightly during the start of the regular season.
"I'm not anticipating on leaning on him so hard the first week or so of the season," Acta said. "We do have Vinnie [Pestano] there. If we need someone three or four days in a row, we will probably give Vinnie that opportunity."
Ubaldo to appeal suspension Thursday
ZEBULON, N.C. -- Pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, who was suspended five games and fined Monday for intentionally throwing at Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki during a Spring Training game, signed autographs Tuesday but didn't speak to reporters.
However, Indians manager Manny Acta said Jimenez will appeal the suspension on Thursday, the day of the Tribe's home opener with Toronto. Acta said the incident wasn't a moment of inspiration for the team.
"No one wants to get in that kind of situation," Acta said. "You don't want anyone getting hurt. It's been proven that that doesn't help. The only thing that helps is good pitching, good defense and getting hits with runners on base. It's something that was unfortunate."
Acta happy with Tribe's commitment to Cabrera
ZEBULON, N.C. -- The Indians wouldn't confirm rumors of shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera's two-year contract extension, but manager Manny Acta is happy to hear about the positive possibilities.
"I think it's good that one of your best players is already under contract and you don't have to worry about it over the next couple years, worrying about it going to arbitration or anything like that," Acta said. "It sends the message that we want to keep our best players and try to win ballgames."
On the first pitch of his first at-bat against Class A Carolina on Tuesday, Cabrera launched a homer over the left-field wall off Indians prospect Scott Barnes, who will start the regular season with the Triple-A Columbus Clippers. Barnes saw seven innings of work in Spring Training.
Acta: Spring Training record irrelevant
ZEBULON, N.C. -- Two days before Opening Day against the Blue Jays, Indians manager Manny Acta wasn't bothered by the Tribe's Cactus League Spring Training record of 7-22.
"With Spring Training, the main thing is to get some work in," he said. "You win Spring Training games when the free agents you bring in or the Minor League kids you bring in play well, because your starters are out of the game after the fifth inning. We had some competition in the outfield, and guys didn't play up to their capabilities. The record is irrelevant to us. We just wanted to stay healthy. If you look at the record, that should erase Tampa Bay from the competition, too. They had as bad a Spring Training as we did.
"We are happy that we left Spring Training healthy. Our main guys got their work in and played well, and we're ready to go."
Travis Hafner said the regular season is a "different ballgame."
"Spring Training is about what you are working on on an individual basis and making sure everyone is ready to go," he said. "Once the regular season starts, it's a different ballgame, and hopefully we'll get off to a great start."
The Indians have nice memories of their hot start last season, it's their late-season collapse they would like to forget. Acta is hoping his players have learned from 2011.
"It was important that the team learn last year that you have to stay even-keel because it's a very long season," Acta said. "The main thing is you have to stay humble, because that's what this game does to you if you're not humble. These guys understand there are some things you can't control. You can't change the way the Tigers played -- they had an unbelievable second half of the season. The main thing for us is to be consistent throughout the season."
Indians enjoy Minor League experience
ZEBULON, N.C. -- Left fielder Shelley Duncan, who led the Indians with 19 RBIs in Spring Training, was one of several Tribe players who felt they had gone back in time Tuesday, when they faced their Class A affiliate, the Carolina Mudcats. The team's clubhouse was in a small shed behind the outfield wall.
"It takes us all back a bunch of years," Duncan said. "We've got some jokes going around, some laughs."
Travis Hafner said: "It reminds you of coming up through the Minor Leagues. It's a nice ballpark, and the people here have been great. It's been a fun experience."
The game was a homecoming of sorts for manager Manny Acta and first-base coach Tom Wiedenbauer. Acta was on the first Mudcats team in 1989, and Wiedenbauer was his manager.
"I was on the first-ever Mudcat team, so I thought it was funny when we got an agreement with the club here in Zebulon," Acta said. "We loved the logo back then in 1989, and we continue to love it. We've got some souvenirs with us to take home."
Wiedenbauer has enjoyed his long-term relationship with Acta.
"Manny came here to Zebulon when he was young," Wiedenbauer said. "He played for me for a couple years and we stayed in touch. It's good to be back together again."
While in Zebulon, the Indians had another chance to look at some of their prospects, including shortstop Ronny Rodriguez, third baseman Giovanny Urshela, second baseman Tony Wolters, first baseman Jesus Aguilar, right fielder Carlos Moncrief and catcher Jake Lowery.
"They are not only talented, but they know how to play the game," Mudcats manager Edwin Rodriguez said. "The Cleveland Indians have a lot of talent in the lower levels."
Acta has been happy with the talent coming through the Indians' farm system and is enthusiastic about the talent in Zebulon, as well.
"Some guys who have come through our system have done well, and some more who are coming through are good, too," Acta said. "We already know some of the talent we have here [in Zebulon]. Some of those kids, we are familiar with them. None of them are going to surprise us, especially some of the starters."
Nathan Walls is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.