Mariners add another lefty relief candidate
The Mariners continued stocking up on left-handed bullpen candidates Thursday as the club announced the signing of former Indians reliever Rafael Perez to a Minor League contract with an invite to Major League camp.
With pitchers and catchers reporting next Friday in Peoria, Ariz., the club now has seven left-handed relievers coming to camp.
Of that group, returners Charlie Furbush and Lucas Luetge and newcomers Mike Kickham, Edgar Olmos and Rule 5 Draft pick David Rollins are on the 40-man roster, while Perez and Tyler Olson are non-roster invitees. Kickham and Perez are both candidates for starting roles as well, should they wind up in Triple-A Tacoma.
Perez has the most experience of any in that group, having made 338 relief appearances with the Indians from 2006-12. He pitched 14 games, including eight starts, with Triple-A Round Rock and Indianapolis in the Rangers and Pirates organizations last year. He also pitched 10 games, with eight starts, in the Mexican League.
Between those three clubs, Perez was 6-7 with a 2.87 ERA in 103 1/3 innings.
The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder also posted a 2.31 ERA in 15 regular-season games (six starts) with Gigantes del Cibao in the Dominican Winter League this offseason, then was 3-1 with a 0.84 ERA over 32 innings in six playoff starts. He then pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings in one start in the Caribbean Series against Cuba.
Perez was a workhorse for the Indians from 2008-11, with his 268 appearances in that span tied for the most by an American League reliever with Craig Breslow. He also made six relief appearances in the 2007 playoffs when the Indians fell one win shy of the World Series.
In his seven-year Major League career, Perez is 21-12 with a 3.64 ERA in 338 outings, all in relief for the Indians.
Seattle’s pitchers and catchers will report to Spring Training in Peoria on Feb. 20 for physicals, with the first workout on Feb. 21. Position players are scheduled to report for physicals Feb. 24 and the first full-squad workout will be Feb. 25.
The Mariners Spring Training roster is currently at 59 players (40 roster, 19 non-roster), including 28 pitchers (8 non-roster), seven catchers (four non-roster), 12 infielders (three non-roster) and 12 outfielders (four non-roster).