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Perez Has Grown Up Quickly



    Martin Perez was in line to be the Texas Rangers' No. 5 starter this season before he took a line drive off his forearm in spring training and was shelved for a month with a fractured bone.

    That gave way to Nick Tepesch as the Rangers' fifth starter and to Perez starting all over again after missing a month of his preparation for the season, but doing it in Triple-A Round Rock.

    After making a spot start in Arizona and having a barely average start, Perez went back to Triple-A and proceeded to dominate for a month before getting another shot when Alexi Ogando hit the disabled list for the Rangers.

    Sure, on Sunday in Comerica Park, the Detroit Tigers hit him hard, to the tune of three solo homers as the Rangers lost 5-0 to go into the all-star break on a sour note, but other than that outing, Perez has been very good, and he's done it against very good lineups.

    Throw out his first start (against Arizona) and last start (Detroit) this season, and Perez has been fantastic, compiling a 3-0 record with a 1.44 ERA against St. Louis, Cincinnati, Seattle and Baltimore. Laugh at Seattle if you want, but the Mariners are slugging the ball right now and those other three teams have loaded lineups.

    Perez might have been a candidate to be dealt at the deadline about a month ago, but it's hard to imagine that anymore unless it was for a bona fide ace that's controllable for years. In other words, not Matt Garza. Perez seems to be a key piece to the rotation from here on out, and at 22 years old he'll be there for a long time to come.