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Indians closer Chris Perez pleads no contest to marijuana charges, gets probation and $250 fine

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

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Remember when Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez had a package of pot mailed to his house in June, addressed to the family dog? Then the authorities sniffed it out (literally), did a sting on the Perez home and arrested the pitcher and his wife? Turns out the consequences for Perez will be little more than a slap on the wrist to go with his lifetime membership in the dumb baseball criminals hall of fame. It ain't Cooperstown.

Perez pleaded no contest to fourth-degree misdemeanor possession charges on Tuesday, changing his previous plea of "not guilty." While technically not an admission of guilt, Perez's no-contest declaration is essentially throwing up his hands and submitting to the charges against him.

Having that six-ounce bag of marijuana delivered to his house will not cause Perez — who is making $7.3 million this season — to pay a $250 fine, walk of the line of probation for a year and complete Major League Baseball's drug-treatment program. He'll also give a 20-minute talk about the dangers of drugs to the kids at Rocky River High School, which is near his home in Rocky River, Ohio (outside Cleveland).

"Hi, kids, I'm Chris Perez and I've learned something very important about drugs. Don't use them. And definitely don't mail marijuana to yourself in a bag that doesn't lock-in the odor. Through this ordeal, I've picked up a few tips about what to do and not do if you want to send yourself a bag of the chronic through the mail. I have a list of suggestions that ... oh, this is not the kind of lecture you guys wanted?"

But seriously, Judge Brian Hagan told Perez:

"You're highly regarded, kids look up to you," Hagan said. "But you made a big mistake. I hope that through your efforts you can deter someone else from making that same mistake."

Perez was on the disabled list at the time of his arrest and if you split his season at the time of  his injury and arrest, he's doing much better in the aftermath. In his 28 games since returning to the Indians on June 28, Perez has a 2.48 ERA and 15 saves in 29 innings. In his 17 appearances before, he had a 4.32 ERA with six saves in 16 2/3 innings.

Now we see if Perez can clean up his act off the field like he seems to have done on it.

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