Athletics choose Sonny Gray over Bartolo Colon for ALDS Game 5 start versus Tigers

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We finally have an answer to the question of who the A’s will start in their decisive ALDS Game 5 against the Tigers on Thursday evening at O.Co Coliseum.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that it will be 23-year-old Sonny Gray rather than veteran Bartolo Colon. Gray had a 2.67 ERA in 64 regular-season innings and hurled eight scoreless innings in the A’s Game 2 win. Colon posted a 2.65 ERA in 190 1/3 regular-season innings — a much larger sample size — but the Tigers tagged him for three runs on 10 hits in his six-inning Game 1 defeat.

The winner of Thursday’s ALDS Game 5 will face the Red Sox in the best-of-seven ALCS.

Detroit will be starting ace right-hander Justin Verlander against Oakland.

Reds ink Oliver Perez to a minor-league deal

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The Reds have signed free agent reliever Oliver Perez to a minor-league contract, the team announced Saturday. The deal comes with a major-league invite and could be worth $1.25 million if Perez secures a roster spot this spring, with an additional $500,000 in potential performance bonuses.

Perez, 36, is coming off of a two-year run with the Nationals. He produced a 4.64 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 an d10.6 SO/9 through 50 relief appearances and 33 innings with the club in 2017. The veteran lefty hasn’t kept an ERA under 4.00 in at least four seasons, but he continues to be undeniably solid against left-handed batters, holding them to a .227/.301/.364 batting line over 18 1/3 innings last year.

While returning southpaw Wandy Peralta appears to have locked down a bullpen spot already, Perez will still compete for another role against fellow left-handers Cody Reed and Amir Garrett, both of whom also have experience in the rotation. If Perez doesn’t break camp with the team, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon notes, he’ll be permitted to opt out of his contract. The Reds are currently looking to bounce back from a dismal performance in 2017, one in which their bullpen ranked 28th among major league teams with a collective 5.63 ERA and -1.2 fWAR.