CLEVELAND -- Things feel different now to Indians closer Chris Perez. Last month, Perez made critical comments about Cleveland's front office and ownership, but the closer now claims his words were fueled by frustration.
On Tuesday, Perez wanted to make it clear that he is not -- and was not -- trying to talk his way out of town. The closer had something to say to anyone who thought he was trying to force the Indians to trade him.
"They don't know the whole story," Perez said. "A lot of frustration from those comments, a lot of that walked out the door last week. I'll just leave it at that. It doesn't mean everything is in tip-top shape over here. Obviously, we fell short of our goals and we need to see why."
Last week, the Indians dismissed Manny Acta as manager and named Sandy Alomar Jr. the team's new manager on an interim basis. Perez believes Alomar has great potential as a full-time manager, and the closer also feels Cleveland has a strong candidate in Terry Francona, who will interview for the job on Friday.
As for Acta, Perez said he believes the former manager meshed better with the media than he did with his own players. The closer spoke critically of Acta's lack of communication with the players. By the time Acta called a team meeting this season -- during the club's Seattle trip in August -- Perez felt it was too late.
"Something needed to change," Perez said. "Just the personality, a different dynamic in the locker room. Something needed to be different."
Perez also feels the organization's stance with him this winter will be an indicator of the direction the team is heading. The closer, a two-time All-Star with 39 saves this season, is eligible for arbitration this offseason and is expected to get a significant raise. Given the club's place in the standings, Perez could be used as trade bait.
"That's a business decision that they're going to have to make," Perez said. "That's not up to me. That's not my decision. I have two years left here at least. Right now, it's up to them. I think whatever they decide to do is definitely going to tell you which way the team is going one way or the other.
"I kind of find it hard to see them keeping me here and then trading other people. But, you never know."
Perez expressed confidence in Cleveland's young core players, adding that he believes the team needs to upgrade its rotation this winter.
"We've got some pieces to build around, for sure," he said. "More of it has to do with -- we need what everybody needs -- we need some high-quality starting pitching."
Alomar knows he's got stiff competition
CLEVELAND -- Sandy Alomar Jr. has served as the interim manager of the Indians for the past five days, but he has yet to sit behind the desk in the manager's office. If he gets the full-time job, Alomar will feel more comfortable shifting to the chair.
Consider it one more sign of respect for former manager Manny Acta.
"It's not my office yet," Alomar said with a laugh. "I'm sitting on the couch -- not in the chair -- just so you know. I haven't. I haven't used Manny's chair at all. It's there, but I don't know if there might be a ghost there or something."
Alomar is tentatively scheduled to interview for the full-time managerial role on Thursday -- one day after the regular season ends. Former big league manager Terry Francona, who led the Red Sox to two World Series titles, is expected to be in Cleveland for an interview on Friday.
Alomar, with no managing experience prior to this interim job, knows who he is up against.
"I don't have the resume that Terry has," said Alomar, who was a teammate of Francona's during winter ball in Puerto Rico in 1988. "Obviously, that's a slam dunk. Geez, I wish I had that. As a player, maybe I did. But as a coach? He has an unbelievable resume. Obviously, anybody would want a Terry Francona. I'm just going to go out there and do what I have to do and let the rest take care of itself.
"Who wouldn't want a guy like that? He has everything. He has championships. He's a great guy. He's a great communicator. He's the perfect guy to have; I'm not going to hide it. I'm not going to say I'm already a slam dunk, because I'm not. Nobody owes me anything. That's always been the approach in my life.
"I have a ton of respect for him. The organization has to make a huge decision. It's not about who's the most popular guy or that I played here or did this in the playoffs. They've still got to make a decision for the organization. I feel like I'm prepared for it."
Quote to note
"There is a lot of potential here. It's a young team and we've got a lot of good young players. I think the future looks bright."
-- Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner
Heading into Tuesday's game with the White Sox, the Indians had hit .308 (48-for-156) with runners in scoring position over their last 15 games, dating back to Sept. 15. Cleveland hit just .197 (87-for-442) with RISP in the previous 60 games.
Indians right fielder Shin-Soo Choo extended his hitting streak to 12 games on Tuesday night, going 1-for-5 with a solo homer. He is batting batting .372 (19-for-51) with six doubles and 11 RBIs in that span. With Tuesday night's 4-3, 12-inning victory, the Indians claimed their 1,000th win against the White Sox in 112 years of baseball. Cleveland, which is 7-10 against the Pale Hose this season, has gone 1,000-1,045 all time against Chicago.