Martin Perez was a shoo-in to fill the No. 5 starter's job for the Texas Rangers after a dominant start to Cactus League play this spring. Then, a lined shot off Perez's forearm ended that plan as he was shelved for about six weeks. That gave way to rookie Nick Tepesch, a sinker-ball pitcher, who took the opportunity and ran with it, earning the No. 5 starter's job over Justin Grimm, Josh Lindblom, Randy Wells and others.
Of course, as things have played out since then, all of those guys except for Wells (who retired prior to the season starting) have gotten significant work in the Rangers' rotation — not exactly what the Rangers had planned.
Perez made one spot start the last time Alexi Ogando went on the disabled list on May 27 in the first game of a doubleheader in Arizona, last 5 1/3 innings and allowing three earned runs (four total) in a 5-3 loss to the Diamondbacks.
After that, he was sent back to Triple-A Round Rock, and has dominated ever since. Now, he'll get another shot at the Rangers' rotation with a start Saturday night in St. Louis against baseball's best team, and he's hoping to make this a permanent stop. The Rangers sent Lindblom down to Round Rock to make room for Mitch Moreland's return after Lindblom picked up a no-decision with some tough pitching in Thursday's series-clinching win over the A's. They'll have to make another roster move prior to Saturday to make room for Perez.
Since that start in Arizona, Perez has been stellar, resembling the dominant force we saw in spring training. He's 5-1 on the minor-league season with a 1.75 ERA and has allowed just one earned run in his previous three outings.
"Martin's throwing well," Rangers manager Ron Washington said in his press conference. "We'll get him while he's hot."