Thursday newsletter time: Martin Perez can pitch … and sing!
(AP photo/Lynne Sladky)
SURPRISE, Ariz. — The Venezuelan national anthem is called “Gloria al Bravo Pueblo,” and Martin Perez can really sing it.
The Rangers left-hander performed the anthem Wednesday night before Team Venezuela played an exhibition against the Astros in Florida as a warmup for the World Baseball Classic.
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) March 8, 2023
Perez needed around two minutes to sing the anthem, which translates from Spanish to English as “glory to the brave people.” It’s an especially fitting title considering the plight the citizens of Venezuela are facing under the regime of president Nicolas Maduro.
Perez owns ranch land in Venezuela, where he raises cattle and where much of his family still lives. He spent the offseason in the United State, though, as he entered offseason as a free agent and ultimately accepted the Rangers’ one-year qualifying offer worth $19.6 million. He stayed after the deal was reached in November and worked out at Globe Life Field.
Before leaving Arizona, Perez said he might pitch Saturday against the Dominican Republic in a marquee matchup.
He headed to Florida after making two Cactus League starts for the Rangers, allowing three runs (two earned) in six innings.
His vocals are in midseason form.
Jon Gray was the other pitcher coming off some form of a scratch this spring who pitched Wednesday (Jacob deGrom is the other), and he did quite well in the Rangers’ 2-0 loss to Arizona. He allowed only one hit in three scoreless innings after being scratched a few days ago because of back stiffness.
The right-hander wasn’t entirely pleased with how he pitched, but said he feels like he usually does at this point in spring training. He also felt a sense of relief to get through the start after a back issue that he said “came out of nowhere.”
“For it to feel as good as it did today and to get it out of the way and not have it linger, I’m very grateful for that,” Gray said. “I don’t want to be the guy who gets injured the first two weeks of spring training.”
He does have some things he wants to work on, namely making his sweeping slider more effective. The “short” slider, as he calls it, was dialed in against the Diamondbacks.
The pitch clock is also something he is aware of, to the point where he tries to not be aware of it. He likes the shorter time between innings, but at times feels as if he’s working too slowly between pitches despite being on the clock.
That said, he’s a fan of the rule change.
Rangers Today is back in Arizona, just in time for an off day. However, the minor-leaguers will not be off, and neither will we. It should be a fun day getting reacquainted with players we met last spring and throughout the season via the Rangers Today Baseball Podcast. It’s going to be a short but busy trip, No. 2 for me and No. 1 for John Moore this spring. We’ve been keeping track of the happenings from Texas and have some fresh stuff from Wednesday in case you missed it.
That ain’t right. Funny, but not right. Enjoy.
— ꓘozaK (@AllWheelDog) March 7, 2023
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com