The Minnesota Twins signed one of the players that Perez wishes was in an Indians uniform, but not even the addition of slugger Josh Willingham in the offseason has kept the Twins out of the AL basement.
Willingham could return to the lineup Friday night when the owners of the worst records in the league open a series at Target Field.
Rarely at a loss for words - he criticized Indians fans earlier this season for not attending games at Progressive Field when the team was leading the AL Central - Perez compared Detroit owner Mike Ilitch's spending habits to those of Indians owner Larry Dolan in a foxsports.com report Wednesday."He's got a team to show for it," Perez said in the report of Ilitch, whose team is one game back in the division. Perez, fourth in the AL with 34 saves, also said that the difference between the Indians and Tigers is "different owners."
Perez, fourth in the AL with 34 saves, added in the story that the Indians weren't willing to pay what it took to get Willingham in the offseason."While we work to understand various perspectives, we strongly disagree with Chris's comments," general manager Chris Antonetti said in a statement. "Nonetheless, we are not satisfied with our recent results and our entire organization remains committed to fielding winning teams and that is the standard by which we will continue to operate."
The Indians (58-79) trail Central-leading Chicago by 16 1/2 games.
Minnesota (56-81) lost two of three on the road to the White Sox this week and return home, where they've lost 10 of 12 and will be opening a 10-game stretch.
Willingham leads the Twins with 33 homers and 98 RBIs, though he's been dealing with a sore hamstring. He came on as a pinch-hitter to end Wednesday's 6-2 loss to the White Sox.
"He thinks he'll be able to get back out there and maybe play some outfield," manager Ron Gardenhire told the Twins' official website.
Willingham has three homers and 10 RBIs against the Twins this season.
However, he's 1 for 9 against Jeanmar Gomez (5-7, 5.08 ERA), who did not allow an earned run in seven innings of a 5-4 win at Minnesota on May 14.
This will be the right-hander's third appearance and second start since getting called up from Triple-A Columbus to replace the injured Roberto Hernandez . Gomez allowed three runs in 5 2-3 innings of a 4-3 win over Texas on Saturday that snapped the Indians' six-game skid.
The last time these teams met, Cleveland avoided a team record-tying 12th consecutive loss with a 6-2 home win Aug. 8. The Twins had outscored Cleveland 62-21 while winning the previous seven matchups.
Minnesota will look to improve to 8-4 against the Indians in 2012 with Liam Hendriks (0-7, 6.11) getting another shot at his first major league win.
The rookie right-hander gave up five runs and a season-high 10 hits in 3 2-3 innings of an 8-7 victory at Kansas City on Saturday."(Hendriks' teammates) want to see him get it and so do I," Gardenhire said. "But he's going to have to earn it and today he didn't earn it."
Minnesota swept a three-game series in the Indians' last visit July 27-29.
|August 27, 2012||Roberto Hernandez||Day-to-Day||Left game - sprained right ankle|
|August 13, 2012||Josh Tomlin||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|August 13, 2012||Jason Kipnis||Day-to-Day||Stiff neck|
|August 06, 2012||Travis Hafner||Day-to-Day||Back soreness|
|August 06, 2012||Travis Hafner||15-Day DL||Lower back inflammation|
|June 30, 2012||Lonnie Chisenhall||60-Day DL||Fractured right ulna - out 4-6 weeks|
|September 02, 2012||Josh Willingham||Day-to-Day||Slightly strained left hamstring|
|August 28, 2012||Denard Span||Day-to-Day||Sore right collarbone|
|August 28, 2012||Denard Span||15-Day DL||Strained right sternoclavicular joint|
|August 24, 2012||Josh Willingham||Day-to-Day||Stiff neck|
|August 12, 2012||Denard Span||Day-to-Day||Left game - right shoulder injury|
|July 25, 2012||Anthony Swarzak||15-Day DL||Mild right rotator cuff strain|
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Russ Canzler provided the type of hitting performance that made him one of Cleveland's top minor-league prospects. David Huff finally turned in the type of pitching effort that had eluded him in the majors.
Both players have another month to show they can consistently perform like this and prove they belong in the big leagues.
Canzler hit his first major-league homer, Huff came on in relief to get his first win this season and the Cleveland Indians beat the Minnesota Twins 7-6 on Friday night. Canzler went 3 for 4 with a walk and three RBIs - the first RBIs of his major league career - and Huff retired all 10 batters he faced after relieving starter Jeanmar Gomez in the fourth.
With his team 16 1/2 games behind Chicago in the AL Central, Indians manager Manny Acta's focus has turned to evaluating his prospects for next season. Canzler and Huff both spent most of the year in Triple-A Columbus before being called up this month.
That was particularly tough on Huff, who started 48 games in his major-league career but won only two games in 2011. Friday night marked only his second career relief appearance.
"Honestly, I didn't even know I was going to get in tonight," Huff said. "I had, from what I was told, a 10-percent chance of getting in. And when that phone rang, they called my name."
Minnesota built an early lead on Indians starter Jeanmar Gomez before Huff's name was called. Josh Willingham hit a two-run double and Justin Morneau added a sac fly in the third to give Twins starter Liam Hendriks a 4-0 lead.
"He pretty much saved the day for us," Acta said. "He came in and shut them down and gave us an opportunity to come back and win the ball game."
Canzler started the rally with a two-run homer in the fourth.
Then in the fifth, Shin-Soo Choo added an RBI single and Canzler drove in Jason Kipnis on a grounder down the third-base line to tie it.
Acta, though, cautioned against reading too much into Canzler's hitting.
"Let the kid play," he said. "It's not enough to make an assessment. He goes 0 for next week and you'll be asking me `why is he up here?"'
For now, anyway, the signs are encouraging. Hendriks, meanwhile, couldn't hold onto a four-run lead for the second straight game and remained winless in 16 career starts.
"I'm trying not to think about it too much," Hendriks said. "It's going to come."
Unlike Huff, Hendriks wasn't able to keep his fastballs down in the strike zone.
"You get a lead, you have to go attack the strike zone," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire . "If he wants to get a win in this league, you have to go attack hitters. If they beat you, make them beat you swinging. Not putting guys on, not going to 3-2 counts with every hitter. He hasn't been able to do it consistently."
Sloppy play hurt the Twins in the seventh when Tyler Robertson (1-2) caught Kipnis stealing, but Kipnis reached second anyway when Pedro Florimon missed a throw from Morneau.
Two batters later, Michael Brantley gave Cleveland the lead when he singled off Alex Burnett to drive in Kipnis. Casey Kotchman then snapped a 0-for-15 slide when he singled home Carlos Santana and Burnett walked in a run to make it 7-4.
Willingham added another double in the eighth off Vinnie Pestano to drive in Joe Mauer . Pestano and Joe Smith combined for 1 2-3 innings of relief. Chris Perez gave up a leadoff double and a run in the ninth, but held on for his 35th save in 39 chances.
"It feels good, it feels really good," Huff said. "It's one of those things you just accept it and move on and get ready for the next one."
NOTES: Willingham has a career-high 101 RBIs. ... Acta said 3B Lonnie Chisenhall could rejoin the team soon if Double-A Akron is eliminated from the Eastern League playoffs this weekend. Chisenhall broke his right arm in June. ... Vinny Rottino was in the lineup in LF for the first time since being called up from Triple-A Columbus earlier this week. He's also the team's third catcher. ... Twins RF Denard Span (collarbone) said he planned to take some swings in the batting cage Friday and possibly hit outside on Saturday. He's scheduled to come off the DL next week. "The next couple days will tell me," Span said. ... The teams play the second game of their four-game series Saturday when Minnesota's Cole De Vries faces Cleveland's Zach McAllister .