It's been a rough few weeks for 22-year-old lefty Martin Perez.
The Texas Rangers pitcher, who was once the Rangers' top pitching prospect and probably No. 2 or No. 3 overall — right in there with the recently dealt Mike Olt — is no longer a prospect, he's a big-leaguer.
Now, he's trying to ensure he stays a big-leaguer for the long haul with guys like Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison close to being ready to come back to the Rangers following extended stays on the disabled list.
Perez had a really solid run of four starts when he was 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA before hitting a rough patch over his past three outings when he's gone 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA. The Rangers are 0-3 in those three Perez starts. He's averaged five innings per start in that stretch and has given up 21 hits in the 15 innings.
Wednesday night, Perez will look to close out a three-game sweep of the division rival Los Angeles Angels. It'll give the Rangers a chance to perhaps gain more ground on the Oakland A's, or even just the Orioles, Indians, Rays and Red Sox in the AL Wild Card chase.
And a good outing will give Perez some confidence moving forward and help his case when guys like Lewis and Harrison do return, which sounds to be coming within a month.
The Rangers desparately want Perez to be a part of the rotation moving forward, and for a very long time. He just needs to go out and seize his opportunity.