Tuesday newsletter time: Martin Perez, Jose Leclerc moving closer to WBC
(Rangers Today/Ben Ludeman)
Martin Perez needed only 41 pitches to get through three snappy innings Monday at Goodyear Ballpark.
The Rangers left-hander allowed a run in a 13-2 win, but also did what he does best.
“I told the guys, ‘Hey, you’ve got to be ready because there’s going to be a lot of ground balls,'” Perez told reporters in Arizona.
Perez is a step ahead of the rest of the Rangers’ starters as he prepares for the World Baseball Classic, where he will represent Venezuela. He will make one more start this weekend before he leaves Monday for the first-round games.
Venezuela will play March 11-15, and could advance to the semifinals March 19-21 also in Miami.
He will be on the same schedule as he would be at Rangers camp, though with a little more adrenaline.
“It’s going to be the same routine I have here,” Perez said. “Nothing is going to change.”
Joining him in Miami, though on the Dominican Republic club, is right-hander Jose Leclerc. Leclerc tossed a scoreless inning behind Perez.
Perez, a 2022 All-Star, and Leclerc, a candidate to be the closer, are key cogs to the Rangers’ 2023 aspirations. They are also veterans who know how to prepare for a season.
The Rangers would prefer to have their players in camp but aren’t going to stand in their way.
Bullpen change for Bochy
The last time Bruce Bochy managed in the major leagues, the three-batter minimum for relievers didn’t exist. He could change relievers whenever he pleased, and that bullpen management helped him win three World Series with the Giants.
He admitted that he has to make an adjustment.
“If I was being honest, yeah, I’d like it the other way,” Bochy said. “I liked having the ability to make changes when you could, but I don’t and my job is to adjust to this.”
There are ways he can manipulate the rule, by making a pitching change with two outs in an inning and then changing pitchers to start the next frame. But the Rangers weren’t deterred by left-on-right matchups last season with Brock Burke and Matt Moore working leverage innings late in games.
Burke has even come up as a closer candidate.
The rule, though, isn’t keeping Bochy up at night.
“I know one thing: Once you make that move, he’s facing three hitters,” Bochy said. “So, just sit back and watch.”
Rangers Today reminders
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