Mariners manager Eric Wedge told Oliver Perez to "be ready to pitch at any point in time" after the team called up the veteran left-hander...
Mariners manager Eric Wedge told Oliver Perez to “be ready to pitch at any point in time” after the team called up the veteran left-hander from Class AAA Tacoma before Saturday’s game against San Francisco.
Wedge said the team hasn’t settled on a role for the 30-year-old, but he’ll get a chance to prove he can still pitch at the major-league level.
“He was throwing the ball well in AAA,” Wedge said. “Obviously (he has) a lot of big-league experience, a high strikeout ratio from the left side. We felt like it was a good time to take a look at him.”
To make room for Perez the team optioned reliever Steve Delabar to Class AAA. Outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang was designated for assignment.
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Perez, whose last major-league appearance was with the New York Mets on Oct. 3, 2010, signed a minor-league deal with the Mariners in January and was 2-2 with a save and a 4.65 earned-run average in 22 minor-league relief appearances for the Rainiers this season.
After spending the 2011 season with Class AA Harrisburg in the Washington Nationals’ minor-league system, Perez said he considered retiring before finding his fastball in the Mexican Winter League. “I started working hard,” Perez said. “My velocity is back and that’s got me very excited.”
Perez has a career record of 58-69 with a 4.63 ERA over nine major-league seasons.
“If you look at his years of experience and what he’s accomplished, he’s accomplished a great deal in the big leagues,” Wedge said. “But this is a different role for him. We feel like he’s made a good adjustment with it and it’s a good time to get him up here.”
Gutierrez doesn’t start
After playing in back-to-back games — his first big-league action of the 2012 season — the Mariners decided to give outfielder Franklin Gutierrez the day off.
“We were going to ease him in here for the first 10 days or so, pick some spots for him,” Wedge said. “With the day game tomorrow — he played two days in a row — it’s a good time to give him a little break.”
Gutierrez did pinch hit in the sixth inning, hitting a run-scoring single to break a 4-4 tie.
• Wedge on giving Ichiro a day off: “I’ve thought about it a little bit. If I’m going to do that, I want to make sure I include him in it and see how he feels, where he’s at with everything. I do think it helps him from time to time to get a day here and there.”
• Former Mariners second baseman Harold Reynolds, now an analyst for MLB Network, threw out the first pitch.
Mason Kelley: 206-464-8277 or firstname.lastname@example.org