Perez Ready, Set to Pitch Friday

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For the second time in as many weeks, a Texas Rangers starting pitcher will make his return to the mound after a 14-month layoff.

Last week, Matt Harrison struggled in his return from spinal fusion surgery in a start that an accomplishment in itself. On Friday, Martin Perez will make his own return from a 14-month hiatus, and much better results will be expected.

Perez is returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlike Harrison, his reviews from his rehab assignment have been sterling. As Jon Daniels put it on Monday when talking to reporters, as far as his stuff is concerned, he's "back."

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That's encouraging to hear, considering where Perez was before his elbow started bothering him a year ago.

Over his first five starts of 2014, he was 4-0 with a 1.42 ERA and that included a run of scoreless starts of eight innings and then two straight complete-game shutouts. But after that, it turned sharply downhill over his last three starts before he was shut down and under the knife.

Perez makes his return on Friday in Houston against an Astros team he's a career 3-0 against with a 1.50 ERA. Of course, those Astros teams were much different than this one, but it's still going to inspire some confidence in him in his return.

To make room for the 24-year-old lefty, who was in the AL Rookie of the Year running in 2013, the Rangers sent recently recalled reliever Roman Mendez back to Triple-A Round Rock.

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