Friday, March 9, 2012
Reaction: Martin Perez fights nerves
By Master Tesfatsion
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Pitcher Martin Perez was nervous during his first Cactus League start Friday.
Perez pitched two innings in the Texas Rangers’ 9-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He allowed two runs off three hits.
Making his first run in camp, Perez's jitters were apparent on the first batter. He walked shortstop Dee Gordon on five pitches, one of three walks during his outing. He didn’t have a strikeout to his name.
Perez had a chance to clear the bags right after. He jumped ahead in the count on third baseman Jerry Hairston and forced a ground ball to shortstop Elvis Andrus. He fielded it cleanly and tossed it to second baseman Ian Kinsler, who made a bad throw on the turn to first base.
Outfielder Matt Kemp picked up a first-pitch single on the next at-bat. Outfielder Andre Either had an RBI-single two batters later. Perez was down 2-0 in the count.
Catcher Yorvit Torrealba and pitching coach Mike Maddux visited the mound on separate occasions in the second inning to calm his nerves after he allowed two walks and a double to the bottom of the Dodgers’ lineup.
Although a run scored, Perez got Gordon to hit into a double play. He finished the inning on a ground out from Hairston.
“I feel pretty good,” Perez said. “I didn’t throw bad, I threw good. I think it’s a good start."
Perez said he views his load of work as a good learning experience from which to build.
“They don’t swing at any pitch, they swing at the pitch they want,” said Perez on what he learned from his performance. “[I] need to throw on the corners and down. If you want to throw outside, throw outside. Don’t miss the zone because if they swing, something will happen.”
Elvis on fire: Shortstop Elvis Andrus continues to be on a tear this spring. He finished 1-for-2 with a walk. He singled to center-field on a 2-1 count in the first, then drew a six-pitch walk on pitcher and Highland Park product Clayton Kershaw.
Uehara allows HR: Pitcher Koji Uehara struck out two but allowed a home run in an inning of work. He replaced Tanner Scheppers in the seventh inning and started the inning with a strikeout. Two batters later, outfielder Alex Castellanos got out the park off Uehara. It was the only hit he allowed. He closed the inning with a strikeout.
Adams pitches: Pitcher Mike Adams took over for Uehara on the mound in the eighth inning. He gave up a hit in his scoreless inning. Adams also had a strikeout and hit a batter in the inning.
Jackson hurt: Outfielder Conor Jackson was hit above his left eye by a fly ball in the sixth inning and left the game.
Jackson entered in the sixth to replace outfielder Nelson Cruz in right field. On the first at-bat, infielder Josh Fields hit a fly ball towards Jackson. The ball hit his face and split his skin. He came out of the game and received five stitches.
Caught stealing: Outfielder Nelson Cruz had a nice line drive single to right field in the second inning. On the third pitch of outfielder David Murphy’s at-bat, Nelson was caught in no-mans land. Kershaw got the throw to first right before Cruz tried to jerk his way back. Gordon finally tagged him out as he ran to second.