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Perez Looking to Stop Skid



    It seems like Martin Perez has been around forever, like University of Texas placekicker "forever."

    It's because we've been hearing about the lefty since he signed with the Texas Rangers at age 16 out of Venezuela with high hopes and lofty expectations. That's why it's sometimes hard to remember that he just recently turned 22 and despite some struggles he's still the club's top pitching prospect.

    Now, after a second call-up this year, he's starting to show why so many people have so much faith in his abilities and he enters Thursday's series finale with Seattle making his third straight start and looking to build on those first two after a spot start back in May.

    After taking a loss on May 27 in Arizona, Perez waited nearly a month to make his next big-league start and went back to Triple-A Round Rock and dominated for a long stretch. Now, with two straight starts under his belt for the Rangers, he's starting to show the promise he's always had.

    Facing two tough teams and two tough lineups in the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds, Perez has gone 2-0 with a 1.32 ERA including Friday's outing against the Reds when he threw 6 2/3 shutout innings and drew some nice praise from manager Ron Washington.

    Seattle's lineup is nothing compared to those of the Cardinals or Reds, so you have to like Perez's chances of continuing his string of solid outings in the series finale on Thursday. Now, if only that Rangers' offense could get back into a groove and help him out a bit.

    With each passing game that Perez pitches well, the further he locks down a spot in the Rangers' rotation which will be changing over the next month when the expected return of Colby Lewis, Alexi Ogando and possibly Matt Harrison, though the latter isn't expected back until September.