Cleveland Indians activate Roberto Perez as core piece returns

CLEVELAND — The Indians got back one of their key missing pieces Saturday, activating catcher Roberto Perez from the injured list.

A two-time Gold Glove winner, Perez has been out since undergoing surgery on his right index finger in May. He initially got hurt when he got crossed up on a pitch from reliever James Karinchak in an April 13 game in Chicago.

Perez continued to play with the injury, but it wasn’t healing, and he needed an operation. He is batting .131 in 61 at-bats, but the 32-year-old is invaluable defensively and in handling Cleveland’s staff.

He was active for Saturday night’s game against the Houston Astros and was set to catch Sunday.

With Perez coming back, the Indians designated backup catcher Rene Rivera for assignment. The 37-year-old Rivera did a nice job filling in for Austin Hedges, who will move into his usual role behind Perez.

The Indians have been ravaged by injuries all season, and they are beginning to take a toll. Cleveland has lost six of seven.

Cleveland is still missing its top three pitchers: Shane Bieber (shoulder), Aaron Civale (finger strain) and Zach Plesac (broken thumb). Slugger Franmil Reyes returned to the lineup Friday after missing six weeks with a strained oblique.

Also on Friday, the Indians were without third baseman Jose Ramirez (sore elbow) and outfielder Eddie Rosario (abdominal tightness). Their injuries are not serious.

Manager Terry Francona said Ramirez has improved but that he will rest at least one more day.

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