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Cleveland Indians Lose Closer Chris Perez For Next Month With Oblique Strain

The Cleveland Indians are fighting with the Kansas City Royals for present and future hopes in the AL Central. Both teams have a strong young core with reasons to hope for 2012 and beyond while also realizing that the powers in Detroit present the primary challenge. Now the Indians will have to deal with the first major injury of spring training for the division in the loss of their closer Chris Perez.

From the AP report, "Cleveland's All-Star closer will miss at least one month and possibly six weeks with a strained left side muscle he injured throwing off the mound for the first time in spring training. Perez said Sunday he had thrown about 30 pitches Thursday when he pulled up with what he thought was a cramp. Instead, he strained an oblique muscle."

He might be ready for Opening Day, but any time without Perez is a definite setback for the Indians entire pen, who must shift to make up for the loss. Last year, Perez made the All-Star Team with 36 saves.