<
>

Martin Perez impresses J.P. Arencibia

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- It's always a fun question to ask a catcher after about 10 days of spring training: Who's caught your eye?

J.P. Arencibia's answer was a quick one: Martin Perez.

The catcher received Perez's one-inning intrasquad game effort on Tuesday and came away impressed.

"He's got some crazy stuff," Arencibia said. "He's got some real, real good stuff. He's got it all. If he can pitch the way he's pitched and continue to grow and mature, he's definitely got some of the best stuff I've ever caught."

Arencibia compared Perez to Ricky Romero the year he was an All-Star. That was 2011, when Romero was 15-11 with a 2.92 ERA in 32 starts (225 innings). He finished 10th in the Cy Young balloting that season, and Arencibia caught plenty of those games while both were in Toronto.

"He's got even better command," Arencibia said of Perez, who was 10-6 with a 3.62 ERA in 20 starts last season.

Perez vowed after the start that he'd continue to throw the cutter. He threw it once in that one inning, getting Rougned Odor to ground out. Pitching coach Mike Maddux was pleased with the pitch.

"He's a young pitcher and it's a new pitch for him," Maddux said. "We threw it in the bullpen last year. We're in the line of fire and said we weren't going to experiment with it, but in spring training we were going to experiment with it. He brought it out the first day. He can use it in on the hands and use it back door for a take strike."