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Indians’ Perez wants to stay in Cleveland
CLEVELAND (AP) - Chris Perez wants to stay in Cleveland, even if he is at odds with some Indians fans.
“I’m unhappy, but don’t want out,” the All-Star closer said Tuesday before the start of a three-game series against Detroit.
“There’s a saying in baseball: If you don’t like it play better,” he said. “I want to stay here. My friends are here. I like it here. I’m not out, I’m in.”
Perez said that he wouldn’t be doing everything he can to help the Indians if he didn’t believe they could start capturing the city’s interest.
“I wouldn’t be signing the autographs, taking the time to bother,” the 26-year-old said. “I wouldn’t be pitching my butt off, I’d tank to get out. I’m never going to do something like that.”
Perez is 0-1 with 13 consecutive saves after blowing a lead on opening day, when the booing started. He said he is more upset at the lack of attendance _ Cleveland is last in the majors _ and overall apathy than home fans getting on him.
After striking out the side on 10 pitches Saturday to save a win over Miami, the usually jovial reliever reacted angrily. He joked that his performance was spurred on by being booed in previous games, then got a bit more terse and pointed out that to him, Cleveland’s low attendance was an embarrassment and kept the organization from attracting free agents.
“The shame is it takes my comments to get national attention for our team,” Perez said.
He then took a backhanded swipe at the town’s infatuation with the football Browns during spring activities, rather than the Indians.
“I could care less who is taking snaps at Browns quarterback,” Perez said.
Asked if he didn’t like football, he replied, “I would if I played football or if my team made the playoffs.”
The Browns have been to the postseason once since returning to the NFL in 1999.
Perez said feedback was “overall positive” to his comments. He produced two cards written to him by season-ticket holders thanking him for “saying what we’ve been saying for years.”
By Tom Harris and Madhav Khandekar
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