Indians activate catcher Pérez, sidelined since early May

FILE - In this Sept. 3, 2019, file photo, Cleveland Indians' Roberto Perez hits a three-run home run in the seventh inning in a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, in Cleveland. The Indians got back one of their key missing pieces Saturday, July 3, 2021, activating catcher Pérez from the injured list. A two-time Gold Glove winner, Pérez has been out since undergoing surgery on his right index finger in May. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
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CLEVELAND (AP) — The Indians got back one of their key missing pieces Saturday, activating catcher Roberto Pérez from the injured list.

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

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

Pérez was active for Saturday night's game against the Astros and was set to catch Sunday.

With Pérez coming back, the Indians designated backup catcher René 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 Pérez.

The Indians have been ravaged by injuries all season, and they're beginning to take a toll. Cleveland had lost six of seven when Pérez rejoined the team.

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 also without their best player, third baseman José Ramírez (sore elbow) and outfielder Eddie Rosario (abdominal tightness). Their injuries are not serious.

Manager Terry Francona said Ramírez is improved, but he'll rest at least one more day.

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