Perez gets quick lesson about pitching in bigs
Rangers prospect battles nerves in two-inning Cactus debut
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- It didn't take Martin Perez much time to figure out what he was up against in his first go-around against Major League hitters Friday.
The 20-year-old left-hander, the Rangers' No. 2 prospect according to MLB.com's 2012 Prospect Watch, noticed immediately that the players he saw in the Dodgers' lineup -- including All-Stars Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier -- were not the same as those he's been seeing in the Minors.
"They've got different teams here -- all players are good batters," Perez said. "They don't swing at any pitch. They swing at pitches they want, so you need to throw on the corners and down. And if you want to throw the ball outside, throw outside. Don't miss, because they'll swing and something will happen."
Making his Cactus League debut, Perez gave up two runs on three hits and three walks in two innings in the Rangers' 9-0 loss. He admitted to a bout of nerves in the first inning, when he gave up two singles and walked a batter.
"He got behind in the count and you can't get behind in the count and try to get National League hitters out, because they know the fastball's coming," manager Ron Washington said. "You can't pitch behind."
Perez threw 37 pitches, 20 of them for strikes. He walked two hitters in the second, when he said he got caught up trying to throw "the perfect pitch."
"You can't throw the perfect pitch," Perez said. "You need to throw the ball where you want. That's why there were walks."
The southpaw has been involved in a pair of no-hitters in his four-year Minor League career, including a six-inning perfect game in 2011 with Double-A Frisco. He split time last year between Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock, compiling an 8-6 record and 4.33 ERA on the year.
Rangers plan to get early breaks in for Beltre
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- As hard as it can be at times, Rangers manager Ron Washington said he's determined to give third baseman Adrian Beltre a breather early on during Spring Training.
Beltre, known to power through the rigors of early camp at a full-throttle pace, was the designated hitter in Texas' lineup on Thursday and Friday and is expected to have the day off on Saturday. It's a designed move, assistant general manager Thad Levine said, to give the slugger a break early in camp before he ramps up the intensity.
"DH him a little bit, give him little break," Washington said. "He should be ready to go Sunday. We want to get him ready to get back on the field Sunday."
Beltre, 32, is entering his second full season with the Rangers after hitting .296 with 105 RBIs and 32 home runs last year. He has played at least 111 games in each of his last 13 big league seasons.
"He's an everyday guy," Washington said. "When he's swinging the bat, you're not going to think about giving him a break. That's something we think about, but it's a fight trying to get him out of the lineup.
"You need your horses to be horses, or you can't get anything done."
Beimel feels good about elbow after debut
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- After an efficient, pain-free inning in his Cactus League debut, Rangers reliever Joe Beimel said he's pleased he took the extra precaution with his sore left elbow and looks forward to continuing with regular workouts.
"It felt very good yesterday, and I feel great today," Beimel said Friday morning. "I'm pretty excited I came through it unscathed and I'm ready to keep pushing forward and trying to win a job."
Beimel, 34, has spent 11 seasons in the big leagues and signed a Minor League contract with Texas this winter after being released by the Pirates. He pitched 35 games for Pittsburgh last year, going 1-1 with a 5.33 ERA.
The left-hander has battled elbow stiffness early during camp, and wanted to take extra care not to rush a comeback before throwing Thursday against the White Sox. He threw 12 pitches (nine strikes) to the minimum three batters in his one inning, striking out one.
"That was Beimel's first time in competition, so we'll see as we move forward how he does," manager Ron Washington said. "We'll get him in some different situations. But he went out there and did what he had to do -- get through his inning."
Rangers right fielder Conor Jackson left the game in the sixth inning after he lost a fly ball in the sun, and the ball bounced off his glove and hit him in the head. According to the club, the ball split the skin above Jackson's left eye and he received five stitches from the team's doctor in the clubhouse. Jackson had X-rays after the incident, and early indications are that he does not have a concussion.
Infielder Brad Hawpe, who was scratched from Thursday's "B" game due to soreness in his right hamstring, is expected to take live batting practice in addition to regular batting practice on Friday. Manager Ron Washington said he's eager to see what kind of impression Hawpe -- signed to a Minor League deal -- can make, but the injury must subside first. "Right now he's still got time," Washington said. "But if it takes until the middle of the month, I don't know how much time he's gonna have."
Washington said infielder Michael Young, who has been bothered by a sprained left thumb, talked the skipper into inserting the third baseman into Friday's lineup. "He didn't have to talk much," Washington said. "He said he wanted to get in there today."
Washington on pitcher Yu Darvish's unusual fondness for pitching from the stretch, even when the situation does not necessarily call for it: "That's what he does. Nobody was on base and he was in the stretch. That's what he wanted to do. I would imagine you'll see him sometime go from the windup, and go from the stretch. It just depends on him. We're certainly not going to indicate to him what he should do. ... I don't think he's doing it because he's forgetting that there's nobody on base."