CLEVELAND -- Closer Chris Perez took another step toward returning to Cleveland's bullpen on Friday.
Prior the Tribe's evening tilt against the Twins, Perez completed a 30-pitch bullpen session off a mound as part of his comeback from a right shoulder injury. Indians manager Terry Francona said the two-time All-Star closer looked good during the workout, but noted that Perez still has a few steps to complete before coming off the 15-day disabled list.
"We'll do this right," Francona said.
The current plan calls for Perez to head to Double-A Akron on Sunday to throw a simulated game, which will likely consist of 15-20 pitches. Francona noted that the right-hander will probably follow that with another Minor League rehab assignment on Tuesday or, if an extra day of rest is required, on Wednesday.
Francona said the Indians were still working through the details of the Minors assignment, but the manager did say that Perez would likely work the final inning rather than pitch in the first of second. On Tuesday, Perez allowed five runs on five hits, including three home runs, in a one-inning appearance for Akron.
On the season, Perez has posted a 4.32 ERA with six saves in 17 appearances. The closer has 18 strikeouts against 10 walks in 16 2/3 innings. He injured the rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder during an outing against the Red Sox on May 26 and was subsequently placed on the DL.
Francona said Perez suggested throwing the simulated game on Sunday morning.
"That tells me right there that he feels pretty good physically," Francona said.
Indians being cautious with Swish's shoulder
CLEVELAND -- Nick Swisher's left shoulder injury is the type of issue that could linger throughout the remainder of the season. That's why the Indians are taking a cautious approach while their first baseman learns how to manage the problem to the point where he can play every day without pain.
On Friday, Swisher was out of the starting lineup for a sixth straight game, but he took swings in the batting cage on the field before the Tribe faced the Twins. Cleveland manager Terry Francona said there is a chance, if head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff approves, that Swisher could be back in the mix on Saturday.
"If [Swisher] shows up [Saturday] and he feels really good," Francona said, "I would say then, 'We'll see,' again. If he feels great, and Lonnie is on board, OK. But the good news is, he's doing well, so you're going to see him playing pretty soon."
Swisher estimated that he took around 50 swings off a tee at the ballpark on Thursday, which was a scheduled off-day for the Indians. He has not tested his sore left shoulder -- an off-and-on problem this season -- with throwing, but he is not concerned about that aspect of his recovery. Swisher said the main concern is hitting.
"You can deal with the soreness and all that stuff," Swisher said. "The sharp pains is what we're trying to get rid of. Knock on wood, whatever they did in that time, it feels good right now."
Cleveland wants it to stay that way.
"When you sit a guy for four or five days, you want it to help," Francona said. "You don't want him to come back one day too early, let him take an aggressive swing and set yourself back. So I need to use some judgment there, where it doesn't put him in a spot that sets him back. So we'll see.
"I think that he's going to have to manage it all year. I think that he understands that. And I think now that he understands that, it'll help. Not that he just picks up and goes and plays, but this is going to have to be part of his routine."
Francona noted that he will lean against using Swisher in right field for a while. If that changes, the manager said he will be sure to give Swisher plenty of notice.
Swisher has hit .237 with seven home runs, 14 doubles and 24 RBIs through 61 games after signing a five-year, $56 million contract over the winter. He last played on Saturday against the Nationals, and he has hit .134 (9-for-67) with 20 strikeouts in his last 18 games.
Swisher is more than ready to put this latest episode behind him.
"Whatever we decide, I'll do it," he said. "We're right on that door."
Cabrera working toward late June return to Tribe
CLEVELAND -- Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera was at his position at Progressive Field on Friday afternoon, gloving ground balls with apparent ease during a pregame workout. Cabrera continues to make steady progress in his recovery from the right quad strain that has him on the disabled list.
Barring any setbacks, Cabrera could return before the end of the month.
"Asdrubal is doing terrific," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He's going to do all baseball activities, and he's going to go with us to Baltimore. The anticipation is actually, when we get through that Baltimore series, he might be pretty darned close to being cleared to play."
Following the weekend series against the Twins, the Indians travel to Baltmore for a four-game set, beginning Monday. That road trip will also include stops in Chicago (June 28-30) and Kansas City (July 2-4).
Cabrera suffered the quad injury while running to first base on a groundout against the Yankees on June 3. The switch-hitting shortstop -- typically Cleveland's No. 3 hitter -- has batted .254 with five home runs, 18 doubles and 25 RBIs in 53 games.
Francona said Cabrera does not want to do a Minor League rehab assignment before coming off the 15-day disabled list, but the Indians are weighing their options about how and when he will make his official return.
"He's great about it," Francona said. "He said, 'I'll do whatever you want. I really don't want to do [a Minor League rehab assignment], but I'll do it if you want me to.' We'll kind of see where we're at and see what's in his best interest."
In the meantime, Francona has been thrilled with the play of backup shortstop Mike Aviles.
"Mikey hasn't missed a beat," Francona said. "We've not had to sit him one game because his legs are tired or dragging, or it looks like his bat is getting slow. He works so hard, and he understands the game. He's done a terrific job. The fact that we've been hitting him second says a lot."
Quote to note
"Oh, boy, I don't know. I hope to find out. I hope we do it in multiple sports. I know how I feel about being here with this organization. I love it. I have no aspirations of ever leaving here. That's how I feel."
--Indians manager Terry Francona, asked what it would be like to see Cleveland celebrate a championship
• Heading into Friday's game against the Twins, each of Cleveland's past 15 games had been decided by three or fewer runs. Four of the past six contests had been decided by one run. The Indians were a Major League-best 13-7 (.650 winning percentage) in games decided by one run. Over the past five years, the Tribe has the third-highest winning percentage (.556, 109-87) in one-run games.
• The Tribe headed into this series with the Twins with a 4-2 record on the nine-game homestand. Dating back to April 30, Cleveland had gone 20-8 at Progressive Field.
• The Indians Radio Network will have a pair of guest commentators alongside Jim Rosenhaus during this weekend's series against the Twins. Indians special assistant (and former pitching coach) Tim Belcher will fill in for Tom Hamilton, Cleveland's regular play-by-play voice, on Friday and Saturday. Indians special adviser (and former manager) Mike Hargrove will join Rosenhaus in the booth on Sunday.