Mariners bring Oliver Perez back on one-year deal

Oliver Perez proved to be one of the better comeback stories in baseball last season and the Mariners now are bringing him back for an encore after signing the lefty free-agent reliever to a one-year deal on Saturday.

Perez reinvented himself out of the bullpen last season after washing out of the Majors with the Mets in 2010, when he was released with $12 million remaining on his contract after struggling badly as a starter.

The Mariners saw renewed life in his fastball when he was pitching in the Mexican Winter League, however, and signed him to a no-risk Minor League deal last offseason. And once Perez was promoted to the Majors in mid-June, he proved very effective out of the bullpen as he posted a 2.12 ERA in 33 appearances.

Perez had the ninth-lowest ERA by an American League reliever with a minimum of 30 appearances and he ran off a stretch of 20 consecutive appearances from July 13 to Sept. 14 without allowing a run, tied for the fourth-longest streak in club history.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported the deal is for $1.5 million, with another potential $600,000 in bonuses. He pitched for $750,000 last year on a Minor League deal.

Perez is the second pitcher re-signed by the club, after starter Hisashi Iwakuma received a two-year, $13 million extension with an option for a third year on Friday night.

Perez and Iwakuma were two of Seattle’s five pending free agents. Starting pitcher Kevin Millwood, reliever George Sherrill and catcher Miguel Olivo are the team’s only remaining free agents on the open market, but none are likely to return.

Millwood is pondering retirement, Sherill is coming off Tommy John surgery and Olivo was let go when the club declined a $3 million option on his expiring contract.

“We are happy to have reached a mutual agreement with Oliver,” Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said in a statement.. “He did a very nice job in helping solidify our bullpen after his call up last summer. As a veteran left-hander, and one that had adjusted very nicely to his new role, we are looking forward to his contributions as we go into the 2013 campaign.”

With Perez’s signing, the Mariners’ 40-man roster now stands at 36.

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