The Rangers have announced that 21 year old lefthanded pitcher Martin Perez will start for Texas against Oakland on Saturday.
Perez was recalled earlier in the week to replace Colby Lewis, who went on the 15 day disabled list with forearm soreness. Perez made his major league debut in Wednesday's 13-9 victory over the Tigers, giving up 4 runs in .2 innings on 2 hits, a walk and an error. While there was some criticism from a few folks about using Perez against the Tigers, my theory at the time was that the Rangers wanted to take the opportunity to get Perez's feet wet in a lopsided game before asking him to make a start. Perez is a pitcher who historically has tended to get too amped at times, and hopefully, getting his major league debut out of the way, and having the experience of facing major league hitters, will have Perez calmer for his outing on Saturday.
Perez is replacing righthander Justin Grimm in the rotation, although Grimm will be available in a long relief role (assuming he's not used tonight), and if Perez struggles, the Rangers will probably put Grimm into the game sooner rather than later. While there are some who preferred to see Grimm -- who has had one solid major league start and one awful start in his two outings since getting called up -- take the mound against the A's, I imagine part of the decision-making process here was wanting to use this as an opportunity to evaluate Perez, so that the Rangers are better equipped to make a decision between Grimm and Perez later in the year, should the need for a spot starter arise again.
With Derek Holland and Lewis both expected off of the disabled list soon after the All Star Break, both Grimm and Perez will likely be back in the minors and in the Round Rock rotation before too long. That being said, Perez has long been one of the Rangers' most highly-touted prospects, being ranked #31 by BA in all of baseball prior to this season, #24 prior to the 2011 season, and #17 prior to the 2010 season, and despite his rough debut and up-and-down minor league season to date, I'm excited to see what Perez does in his first major league start tomorrow.