Cleveland, 1B Perez close to one-year deal

CLEVELAND -- Free agent Eduardo Perez is close to signing a one-year contract with the Cleveland Indians, who plan to use Tampa Bay's former first baseman in a platoon with Ben Broussard.

Perez batted .255 with 11 homers and 28 RBI last season for the Devil Rays. The son of Hall of Famer Tony Perez is expected to
arrive in Cleveland on Monday, take a physical Tuesday, and if all
goes well, finalize his deal.

``It's not done yet, but I'm optimistic that we can get it
done,'' Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said.

Perez will give Indians manager Eric Wedge a much need
right-handed hitter off the bench.

Broussard had an inconsistent 2005, batting .255 with 19 homers
and 68 RBI. In 2004, he drove in 82 runs.

In his career against left-handers, the 36-year-old Perez is
batting .263 with 47 homers and 168 RBI.

Perez is a fallback plan for the Indians, who were unsuccessful
in trying to sign Nomar Garciaparra, Brian Giles and Eric Byrnes
this offseason to help upgrade their right-handed power.

Perez had his best season in 1997 for Cincinnati, when he batted
.253 with 16 homers and 52 RBI. A first-round pick by the
California Angels in 1991, Perez has also played for St. Louis.