03/12/09 11:24 AM ET
Perez suffers dislocation of left wrist
Rays outfielder out three months after diving for ball Tuesday
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
The Rays outfielder injured himself in Tuesday's game against the Blue Jays while diving to his left for a ball.
"That's a play I make all the time, usually once a month or so," Perez said. "The whole trick to it is making sure you keep your glove from catching on the ground. My glove has never caught on the ground [before], then that. I'm using a little bit longer of a glove than I have been using, and it got caught under there. So it really surprised me."
Perez estimated the glove's length to be approximately a quarter of an inch longer, but he had not gotten totally comfortable with it. He immediately left the game. The diagnosis of his injury was not finalized until Thursday morning.
"[Bench coach] Davey [Martinez] said to me he knew I was injured instantly because I didn't go after the ball," Perez said. "Usually when somebody's seriously injured, they just kind of lose place of where they are and what's going on. It's one of those. I don't even really remember what happened with the ball."
After Perez's glove brushed the ground, causing the injury, the ball landed in his glove. But Perez could not squeeze the ball, so it popped out.
"It's a dislocation, and it's unfortunate," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I talked to him after it had happened, obviously he was very disappointed. He's really coming on as a young player, so it's difficult. But it could have been worse, so three months, we can live with that."
According to Maddon, the impact of not having Perez might be felt at the beginning of the season since B.J. Upton's availability remains an uncertainty as he comes back from left shoulder surgery.
"If B.J. were not to be ready, it makes it a lot easier to know who is going to play center field when the season opens," Maddon said. "Now we've got Gabe [Kapler] out there. We're going to have to get Zobrist out there, gives some other people an opportunity if something else were going to happen. But that's the impact, if B.J. were not to be ready. [Perez] probably would have played out there at the beginning of the season."
Perez said he was told a dislocation is worse than a break, explaining that had it been a break he could have had a plate inserted and he could have been back in a month.
"But dislocation is worse, because it involves a lot of other parties," Perez said.
Perez said he felt like he was letting himself down and the team, due to Upton's situation.
"We already have an injury in the outfield, the last thing you want is another one," Perez said. "But again, it wasn't anything super reckless. It's a play I usually make. Around here we reinforce the idea that I already have that Spring Training isn't any different, balls have to get caught. We're practicing playing at a high level. "Obviously if I would have just come in and let that one drop, like I was a 15-year veteran, we wouldn't be in this position. But that's not the way that I'm accustomed to playing. Maybe I will be when I'm a 15-year veteran."
Perez maintained his sense of humor when asked what he will be able to do as he teased, "I will be able to watch movies, text message with my right hand."
Then he added: "I'm going to be in a cast I think tomorrow. And I'll be in a cast for about six weeks and then start this slow process reanimating my hand. I'm going to be doing a lot of tedious rehab, I'm sure, at the beginning. I wouldn't imagine I'll be doing anything baseball-based for about two months."
Knowing that he likely would have begun the season on the team added to Perez's disappointment.
"It happens," Perez said. "I think a lot of things like that happen in life when you're really feeling good. Something has to give. I felt really good, and it was shaping up to be an exciting spring and all of that. But I learned a lesson, that's something I won't let happen again."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.