Martin Perez determined to win fifth spot
|Jim Bowden joins Ben and Skin to talk about Rangers spring training and some interesting trade scenarios. |
Perez, who is still just 21 years old (he turns 22 the first week of the season), certainly has the look of a guy determined to show he's ready to make the move to the big leagues and stay there. He got a taste of it in 2012 and gained valuable experience from it. And he arrived at camp more confident in his mechanics and more mentally prepared to win the job.
"I have to compete every day," Perez said. "Even if you lose, compete, compete, compete, compete, compete. That's what it's about. If you want to win, you have to compete. If you don't compete, you don't have a chance."
Perez pitched one inning in the intrasquad game on Tuesday and threw all nine of his pitches for strikes. He said he worked in his entire repertoire and was pleased with the fact that he kept the ball down and got good reactions from the hitters. His demeanor was one of a pitcher who was confident in his stuff and felt like he could get anyone out.
"I think he's growing up a little bit," bullpen coach Andy Hawkins said. "He's more poised right now. He's still a young kid, but you can tell he's been exposed to big league players for a couple of years and it's starting to show. The way he handles himself overall is better.
Hawkins also sees confidence.
"He's always struck me as being a little cocky and I like that," Hawkins said. "I've got no problem with that at all. I just think he's a little more grown up now."
"I think I've got more experience and I think my mind is better now," Perez said. "When you're at (Class) A-ball you think, I'll throw 95 mph and get outs. In Double-A, you have to throw up and down and side to side. In Low-A, you throw 96 and they swing at everything. Here, you throw 96 for a ball, they say, 'OK, throw a strike.'
"The best thing I learned was to attack the zone early here."
Perez said part of his confidence also comes from a firm belief in what he's doing with his mechanics. It's working and that has him only feeling better. He said he isn't worried about what Robbie Ross, Kyle McClellan, Randy Wells or anybody else that's fighting for the fifth starter spot is doing. His focus is on improving his game.
"When I came here, I said, 'OK, what is my goal this year?'" Perez said. "I've got one: Stay in the big leagues. I'm working hard every day to learn something to help me and the team. When they give me an opportunity, I want to do my job."
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.