All season long, we've been talking about the Rangers just "hanging around" until reinforcements come, specifically within the pitching staff.
On Wednesday, a second of the Rangers' group of injured starters made his rehab debut as Martin Perez made his first rehab start after his recovery from Tommy John surgery last summer.
Perez, of course, was on fire in 2014 before he had elbow discomfort and was quickly under the knife for elbow ligament replacement. On Wednesday, he took a big step toward his return, which is looking like it'll be sometime shortly before the all-star break — less than a month away.
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Perez allowed five hits and a run in 2 2/3 innings of work on Wednesday, reaching his pitch limit of 45 before his innings cap of three innings, but the results were nothing for Perez to concern himself with — he was happy with the night.
“I don’t like to worry about the result,” Perez told The Dallas Morning News. “I like to feel good.”
And after the game, he did. Perez looked good, too. His four-seam fastball was consistently in mid-90s, and his two-seamer was sitting in the low-90s. That's really encouraging for his first outing after the elbow surgery, and plenty reason for Perez to be happy about the night.
“My changeup is there and the slider was really good,” Perez said. “Two-seam fastball, fastball in, was amazing. I think I need to work a little bit more on my curveball and that’s it.”
Now, if Perez could only get back and perform like he was when he went on the DL a year ago — his last start coming on May 10, 2014. His last three starts of 2014 were awful, which in hindsight can be chalked up to the growing arm problem. Before that, however, he was lights out, including two straight complete-game, three-hit shutouts and a scoreless outing of eight innings before that.
He won't step in and immediately do that next month, but he could build up to it, and that'd be a huge addition for a Rangers' staff that seems to be holding on by a thread.
“When they make the decision,” Perez said, “I’ll be ready.”