TOM WITHERS,AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) — Indians closer Chris Perez deactivated his Twitter account following two rough outings, and after receiving a slew of negative comments.
Perez took down (at)chrisperez54 on Monday, not long after the two-time All-Star gave up a ninth-inning home run to Seattle’s Endy Chavez. It was the second straight poor performance by Perez, who allowed back-to-back homers in the ninth on Saturday. The Indians won both games.
Several fans sent Perez harsh comments and there were a few profane remarks made toward him following Monday’s win, which completed a four-game sweep by the first-place Indians, who entered Tuesday’s game against Detroit leading the AL Central by 2 1-2 games over the Tigers.
Although he was one of the AL’s top closers last season, Perez became a target for some fans when he criticized them for not supporting the Indians. Perez has always been active on Twitter, posting a daily favorite song and interacting with his followers.
In a statement released through the team, Perez didn’t specify his reason for deactivating his account.
“The decision to deactivate my Twitter account was a personal choice I made in order to maintain the greater focus on the success of the team this season and our shared goals moving forward,” he said. “We have an extremely positive and supportive group of players, coaches and staff members in our clubhouse and I want to participate in activities and routines that contribute positively to the culture we’re building here.
“Out of respect for my teammates, I want to minimize any potential off-the-field distractions so this is the only time I will comment on this topic. Thank you for your understanding.”
Perez was not in Cleveland’s clubhouse before pregame batting practice and he did not speak with reporters after leaving the field.
Indians manager Terry Francona was aware of Perez’s decision to abandon the social media site.
“I don’t know if it’s a good idea or a bad idea,” he said. “I understand his reasoning was to focus more on what we’re doing. I thought his thought process was really good. I don’t think I’ve looked at a Twitter in my life. I don’t even know if I know how. But I like his reasoning. I’m cool with it.”
Francona wasn’t with the Indians last season, but he knows Perez was a polarizing figure. Francona contacted Perez shortly after he was hired by the Indians and said the hard-throwing 27-year-old has been great to deal with and focused this season.
“Terrific and more,” Francona said. “His level of communication with me has been fantastic.”
Perez, who recorded 39 saves in 2012, is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA and six saves this year.
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