5/21/2013 7:52 P.M. ET
Perez deletes Twitter account to put focus on club
By Jordan Bastian and Mark Emery / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona is not sure how Twitter works and he does not care to find out. Francona was also fine with closer Chris Perez's explanation for deleting the social-media account he used to interact with fans the past few years.
Given Perez's history of actions and outspokenness, the disappearance of his Twitter account (previously @ChrisPerez54) following a pair of rough outings swirled into an unlikely news story. While it turned into a one-day distraction for this red-hot Indians club, Francona said Perez's intention was to turn the spotlight toward the team.
"I don't know about it being a good idea or a bad idea," Francona said of Perez deleting his account. "I understand his reasoning was to focus more on what we're doing. So I thought his thought process was really good. I don't think I've looked at a Twitter in my life. I don't even know if I know how. But I like his reasoning, so I'm cool with it."
Perez chose to issue a written statement rather than address the situation with reporters.
"The decision to deactivate my Twitter account," Perez wrote, "was a personal choice I made in order to maintain the greater focus on the success of the team this season and our shared goals moving forward. We have an extremely positive and supportive group of players, coaches and staff members in our clubhouse, and I want to participate in activities and routines that contribute positively to the culture we're building here.
"Out of respect for my teammates, I want to minimize any potential off-the-field distractions, so this is the only time I will comment on this topic. Thank you for your understanding."
Last season, Perez created a stir in the first half, when he made critical comments about the Indians' low attendance totals. The two-time All-Star's comments upset a segment of the fan base, but he received a standing ovation in his first appearance in Cleveland after airing his thoughts.
Perez's willingness to speak his mind has made him a polarizing figure for the Tribe's fan base. The closer was booed as he walked off the field Saturday, when he blew a save after giving up two home runs in the ninth inning of an eventual 5-4 win against Seattle. Perez also gave up a go-ahead home run in the ninth inning of Monday's 10-8, 10-inning victory against the Mariners.
It marked the first time in Perez's career that he allowed home runs in consecutive appearances, but that did not stop some of his Twitter followers from attacking him on the social-media platform. It is possible that Perez, who is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA and six saves this season, deactivated his account in part due to the harsh criticism he was receiving.
Francona said he has no issues with how Perez has conducted himself this season.
"He's been terrific, I would say, and more," Francona said. "His level of communication with me has been fantastic."
Mike and Mike arrive, hoping Tribe avoids bad fortune
CLEVELAND -- If the Indians are looking to differentiate themselves from the ultimately unsuccessful clubs of years past, overcoming the dreaded "Mike and Mike" kiss of death might be a good start.
Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic -- co-hosts of the popular ESPN morning radio show "Mike and Mike" -- will be at Progressive Field during the Tribe's two-game series with Detroit. Greenberg threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Golic before Tuesday's series opener. The two will broadcast live from Progressive Field on Wednesday from 6-10 a.m. ET. Tribe manager Terry Francona will pop in at 9:15 to chat with the Mikes, who will also have legendary NBA coach Phil Jackson on the show.
The Indians were 30-15 when "Mike and Mike" came to Cleveland in 2011, then went 50-67 the rest of the way. Last year, Greenberg and Golic arrived with the Tribe at 17-12 -- they finished 51-82.
Through 43 games this season, the Indians are 26-17 and in first place of the American League Central by 2 1/2 games entering their series with division-rival Detroit.
"I really hope that we are not about to destroy their season," Greenberg said before Tuesday's game.
"It's just brutal what we've done," added Golic, who was born and raised in nearby Willowick, Ohio. "We've come here and the Indians have been doing well, and we leave and they basically go in the tank for the rest of the year.
"Here we are again in year three. I'm hoping the third time's the charm, and we can be a positive influence on this team."
Front office members to represent Tribe at Draft
CLEVELAND -- A couple of front-office members will represent the Indians during the 2013 First-Year Player Draft.
Tim Belcher and Johnny Goryl were selected to represent Cleveland when the Draft begins on June 6 in MLB Network's Studio 42 in Secaucus, N.J. Belcher is a special assistant in the club's baseball operations department, and Goryl is the adviser of player development for the Tribe.
Both are longtime members of the organization. Belcher is in his 12th year with the club and his 10th as a special assistant. Goryl is also in his 10th year in his adviser role.
During the Winter Meetings, Goryl was presented with the Mike Coolbaugh Award, which honors individuals who have shown an outstanding baseball work ethic, knowledge of the game and skill in mentoring young players on the field.
Belcher was the Indians' pitching coach from 2010-11. The staff's ERA dropped in consecutive years with him in charge, and the Tribe's bullpen was one of the most effective in baseball.
New father Swisher donates to help all Cleveland kids
CLEVELAND -- Nick Swisher is the new father of a baby girl. His concern, however, extends to all the children of Cleveland.
Swisher and his wife, JoAnna, welcomed a daughter to the world Wednesday, four days after it was announced that he donated $25,000 to the FBI Citizens Academy Foundation for the purchase of child identification kits.
Cleveland placed Swisher on the paternity leave list before Tuesday's game against Detroit, meaning he'll be out for one to three games. To replace him, the Indians recalled infielder Cord Phelps from Triple-A Columbus.
The new father said his (soon-to-be) role as a parent motivated his donation.
"Being involved with the Child ID program was a no-brainer for me," Swisher said in a press release. "Protecting and helping children is something that's just instinctive -- but now that I'm about to be a Dad for the first time, it takes on a whole new meaning. I am proud to be a part of this."
Each identification kit contains an inkless fingerprinting card, a DNA collection envelope and a cut-out wallet card. The fingerprinting process takes about five minutes to perform. Completed kits can provide authorities with vital information in their search for a missing child.
The kits will be distributed at Wednesday's Tigers-Indians game and in the Greater Cleveland area throughout the year.
Swisher is scheduled to receive an award by the FBICAF and FBI before Wednesday's game. There is also the possibility that he will be activated by then and in the lineup.
In 30 games for Triple-A Columbus, Phelps is batting .233 with eight doubles, five home runs and 19 RBIs. Phelps appeared for the Indians in a three-game series last month against Boston and went 0-for-8 with two strikeouts.
Swisher's donation comes in the same month that three Cleveland women -- Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight -- were rescued a decade after being kidnapped off the street.
"We are extremely grateful for Nick's commitment to the Cleveland community and his partnership with the FBICAF," says Steve Williger, the organization's chairman of the board. "Through his efforts, many local families will have the assurance of knowing they have vital information they can provide to law enforcement authorities should anything happen to their child."
• Francona said he pulled lefty Scott Kazmir in the fourth inning on Monday because the starter looked "sluggish" against Seattle. Over his past two starts, Kazmir has gone 0-1 with a 10.13 ERA -- eight innings, 13 hits, nine earned runs, five strikeouts, four walks. He went 2-1 with a 2.65 ERA -- 17 innings, 15 hits, five earned runs, 21 strikeouts, three walks -- in his previous three outings.
"I think we have to be cognizant of the fact that he hasn't pitched every five days for a while," Francona said of Kazmir, whose last full season was 2010. "If at times you have a little shorter outing, that may help him in his next start. I just think we need to remember that sometimes. Everything is OK."
• With Swisher on the paternity list, Francona placed left fielder Michael Brantley in the cleanup spot for Tuesday's game against Detroit. Brantley, who is hitting .306 with nine extra-base hits and 20 RBIs through 42 games, has now appeared in every lineup spot for Cleveland this season.
"He slots in anywhere and he gives you a professional, Major League at-bat," Francona said. "So it really works for us well, and he's willing to do it. Michael's such a team guy. He understands that if it helps our ballclub, he'll do it."
• The Indians entered Tuesday with five walk-off victories this season. Three of those last at-bat wins came during Cleveland's recent four-game sweep against the Mariners. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it marks the first time the Indians had three walk-off wins in one series since July 23-26, 1992, against the Royals.
• On Tuesday, the Indians named Class A Advanced Carolina right-hander Cody Anderson their Minor League Player of the Week for May 13-20. During that stretch, Anderson posted a 0.73 ERA, allowing one run in 12 1/3 innings. He piled up 16 strikeouts and was also named the Carolina League's Pitcher of the Week.
Quote to note
"Sometimes, you can't pitch around him. Sometimes, you hope he hits a ball at somebody, because the one thing he doesn't do is run real good. If he did that, it'd be a joke. It'd be like a video game."
--Francona, on Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.