7/8/2014 8:16 P.M. ET
Indians call up catcher Perez from Triple-A
By Jordan Bastian and Alec Shirkey / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Roberto Perez's arrival in Cleveland on Tuesday was the first step in his Major League career, but also the completion of an incredible comeback for the young catcher.
The Indians selected Perez's contract from Triple-A Columbus prior to their game against the Yankees, bringing him to the big leagues as the Tribe's new backup catcher. A year ago, Perez was playing through Bell's palsy and enduring an extremely trying season in the Minors.
"It's a long process and a slow process," Perez said. "I had to wait until it got better. It was really disappointing last year, but I'm just glad to be here today."
In 53 games for Columbus this season, the 25-year-old Perez hit .305 with eight home runs, 20 extra-base hits, 20 walks, 29 runs, 43 RBIs and a .922 OPS. That is a drastic improvement over his showing in 2013, when he hit just .200 across 99 games split between Double-A Akron and Triple-A.
While at Columbus last year, though, Perez began suffering symptoms of Bell's palsy, including partial paralysis of the left side of his face, resulting in problems with his left eye. Perez could not blink and was forced to sleep with a towel over his face in order to get rest. The issue continued for months, but began to subside over the offseason.
"Last year was a tough year for me," Perez said. "But I decided this year is a new year. I'm just enjoying it. ... My confidence is back. I'm not really thinking about it. I'm just playing the game hard, and good things happen when you play hard."
In order to add Perez to the active roster, Cleveland optioned extra outfielder Tyler Holt back to Columbus. The Indians designated Triple-A reliever Mark Lowe for assignment to clear a space on the team's 40-man roster for the young catcher.
The Indians had a need for a new backup catcher after they designated veteran George Kottaras for assignment on Monday, following the acquisition of outfielder Chris Dickerson in a trade with the Pirates. Cleveland's preference is to keep Carlos Santana -- the backup catcher at the start of the season -- at first base for the foreseeable future.
"It was kind of a little bittersweet. We had to let George go," manager Terry Francona said. "Perez, he's having a phenomenal year -- offensively, defensively. It's probably time to get him to the big leagues. ... I think early in the year, having George here made sense organizationally, letting Perez get those at-bats and get the work and develop. Now I think we feel like he can come here and help us."
Kipnis says he wasn't faked out by Jeter
CLEVELAND -- Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis saw the tweets and the brief video clip that was spreading throughout social media. The headlines were claiming that Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter deked Kipnis into thinking a double play was being turned in the eighth inning on Monday night.
The story going around was a classic case of the veteran schooling the kid. So fooled was Kipnis that he slid into second base and then got caught in an embarrassing double play that ended a rally for Cleveland.
"There was no deke," Kipnis said on Tuesday, setting the record straight. "I get it. I'm as big a Derek Jeter fan as there is out there, but let's not make up news."
Kipnis said the play was simply a straight steal gone wrong. The second baseman was off and running with the pitch from New York's Dellin Betances, but Asdrubal Cabrera popped up into foul territory down the third-base line. Kipnis ran with his head down, did not see where the ball went and heard third-base coach Mike Sarbaugh's shouts too late.
Yankees third baseman Zelous Wheeler caught Cabrera's pop fly and fired it across the diamond to first baseman Mark Teixeira, retiring Kipnis to end the inning.
"I heard [Sarbaugh] yell, 'Go!'" Kipnis said. "I took a step toward third and then I heard the other half of his sentence, saying, 'Go back!' So I had to touch second base again and started going back. By that time, it was way too late."
The video clip shows Jeter at second base, miming a phantom double play.
"I didn't even see the deke until I watched on the video later," Kipnis said. "If I was trying to break up a double play, I don't think I'd be rounding [the bag], going towards third base."
The way the story spread, it was surprising Kipnis did not shake Jeter's hand right there on the field.
"Yeah, I should've given him my jersey off my back after that play," Kipnis said with a laugh.
Spetrino named Indians' All-Star Teacher
CLEVELAND -- The players won't be the only ones honored for their accomplishments at the 2014 All-Star Game.
On Tuesday, Major League Baseball released the winners of the "Target Presents PEOPLE All-Star Teachers" campaign, which recognizes 30 outstanding teachers -- one associated with each team -- that have sought to better their communities and promote growth in their students.
This year, Cleveland fans voted for Jacqui Spetrino of Dale R. Rice Elementary School in Mentor, Ohio, to represent the Indians in Minneapolis next Tuesday, when she and the other 29 winners will be formally commended in a special pregame ceremony at Target Field.
Spetrino, a single mother of two, has been nominated for Teacher of the Year in Mentor because of her commitment to spreading the merits of artistic expression and her advocacy for the children she teaches. She has taught her students in both traditional and new media, showing them how to create art with the help of digital tools.
"I was born and raised a Tribe fan and will always be one, because that's the Cleveland way," Spetrino said to the Indians.
Quote to note
"You can tell him he's the reason I run hard down the line. I heard a quote of his once. He said, 'You have to run hard for four seconds, four times a day. That's not that much to ask for.' When I heard that quote out of him, that's something I've tried to stand by for my career. He's a special player."
--Kipnis, on Jeter
• Santana jammed a shoulder while making a diving grab at first base during Monday's loss to the Yankees, according to Francona. Santana was in Tuesday's lineup as the designated hitter, but Francona said Santana was fine, noting that the defensive change was more about getting Nick Swisher back in the field.
"He's OK," Francona said of Santana. "I just don't want Swish to go forever without playing [in the field]. I don't think that's healthy for him. Carlos has played the heck out of first."
• Right-hander Carlos Carrasco turned in three shutout innings for the Indians on Monday, giving him a 1.67 ERA through 18 relief appearances this season. Over the 2013-14 seasons, Carrasco has gone 2-0 with a 1.57 ERA and 0.87 WHIP in 46 relief innings, compared to 0-7 with an 8.18 ERA and 1.87 WHIP in 55 innings as a starter.
• On Tuesday, the Indians named Double-A Akron outfielder Anthony Gallas the organization's Minor League Player of the Week for June 30-July 6. During that time period, the 26-year-old Gallas hit .483 (14-for-29) with two home runs, four doubles, one triple, five RBIs and a 1.379 OPS for the RubberDucks.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.