Cleveland Indians first baseman Nick Swisher out with sore shoulder

CLEVELAND - Slumping Indians first baseman Nick Swisher received a cortisone shot in his sore left shoulder Monday and will be sidelined for Cleveland's next three games.

Manager Terry Francona said Swisher received the injection after an MRI taken Sunday revealed no structural damage. Francona said Swisher will be "down for a couple of days" and is not likely to play during the Indians' three-game series against Kansas City. The Indians are off Thursday and Swisher could return for Friday's series opener against Minnesota.

Francona said it's possible Swisher could still end up on the disabled list, but "that's not our first choice."

"The hope is that with maintenance moving forward we can kind of stay ahead of it," Francona said.

Swisher's shoulder has been bothering him for some time, and Francona said the switch-hitter made it worse with "big swings" during a weekend series against Washington.

Swisher signed a four-year, $56 million contract with Cleveland in December. He recently went through an 0-for-27 slump and has just six hits in his last 55 at-bats. His average has dropped to .237.

Francona doesn't know if Swisher's injury affected his swing.

"I don't think it helped it," he said. "It's hard to tell. Guys get banged up so much."

With Swisher sidelined, Mark Reynolds moved from third base and started at first for Monday's series opener with the Royals. John McDonald made his second straight start at third.

Also, Indians closer Chris Perez will make a second rehab appearance on Tuesday before the Indians consider activating him from the disabled list. Perez has been sidelined with a strained right shoulder.

Perez will pitch an inning for Double-A Akron, and as long as there are no setbacks, the two-time All-Star will be activated Friday.

Perez allowed two hits and struck out one during an inning for Lake County (A) on Sunday. He wasn't happy with his command, but said he felt good after playing catch Monday.

"It's getting better every day," he said. "I wish I could have come back sooner, but I'll take it."

While he was out, Perez was charged with misdemeanor drug abuse after a package of marijuana was mailed to his home in suburban Rocky River. Perez has had a rocky relationship with Indians fans, but said he's not concerned about how he'll be received when he returns to the mound.

Francona believes Indians fans only want to see Perez close games.  

"I think if he gets `em out, they'll cheer," he said. "That's normally the way it is for a closer. I think baseball fans, and people in general, don't mind forgiving. If you treat people right, I think they'll treat you right back. With us, he's been really good and really mature about it and we're kind of looking forward to moving on."

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