The Texas Rangers had starter Martin Perez pitch in this morning's B game against the Chicago White Sox, rather than in the regular game this afternoon, in an effort to keep the Seattle Mariners (this afternoon's foe) from getting too many looks at Perez before the start of the season. Perez will likely face the M's at least once -- and possibly twice -- in the first week and a half of the season, and so Jeff Banister is wanting to avoid the M's getting an early read on him.
Perez cruised in three innings, giving up a pair of singles, a HBP and a walk while doing Perez things. Evan Grant summarizes:
Martin Perez was 92-93 mph with 2 seamer, hit 94. 3 scoreless; 7 ground balls, walk, 2 singles, HBP in B game— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) March 6, 2016
As we've discussed, Perez, 24, is a pretty big key to the Rangers' 2016 season. He appeared on the verge of establishing himself as a legit #2/#3 starter at the start of 2014, before Tommy John surgery ended his year, but was solid in 2015 after shaking off the rust. If Perez can take that step in 2016, then the Rangers suddenly have a very potent trio at the top of their rotation, with Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels in the top two spots.
Kind of a fun lineup to look at behind Perez today, as well...
As Tepid noted on Twitter, the starting middle infielders were both born in 1997. You've also got James Jones, fighting for a spot on the Opening Day roster, out there, as well as Justin Ruggiano making his debut at first base, Joey Gallo at third base, and Ryan Rua out in left field.