A few weeks into the Texas Rangers' spring training, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Martin Perez would be the Rangers' fifth starter after putting together a stellar run through Cactus League play.
But after a liner drilled Perez in the arm, he was out of the picture for the No. 5 starter gig, a job Nick Tepesch eventually won before finishing second in AL Rookie of the Month voting for April behind fellow rookie Rangers starter Justin Grimm.
Now, Perez is ready to pitch again after a couple of rehab starts. He was activated from the disabled list over the weekend and sent to Double-A Frisco with plans to join Triple-A Round Rock sometime later this week.
After that, who knows? Perez is far from a slam dunk to earn a rotation spot with the big boys. He would've been a question mark if he'd had success in his rehab starts, but he didn't. In fact, they were pretty shaky as he gave up eight runs on nine hits in 3 1/3 innings on Saturday.
Rangers manager Ron Washington told the media a couple of weeks ago that Colby Lewis was the only injured pitcher that had a spot waiting for him in the rotation upon his return — that the other guys would have to battle it out. With the way Tepesch and Grimm have pitched so far it'd be hard to remove either one from the picture in favor of Perez, who has never lived up to his tremendous potential when given shots in the bigs. And another thing to remember, he just turned 22 years old, so another year in the minors wouldn't be a bad thing for Perez.