Twins sign Rafael Perez to minor league deal

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Minnesota has signed left-hander Rafael Perez to a minor-league contract, according to LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Perez was non-tendered by the Indians in November following a season in which he was limited to eight appearances because of a shoulder injury that required surgery in September.

However, prior to the shoulder problems Perez was one of the most effective southpaw setup men in baseball with a 3.64 career ERA and a sub-3.60 ERA in four of his five full seasons with the Indians.

At the time of the surgery he was expected to be recovered sometime around spring training, so if healthy the 31-year-old Perez will compete with Tyler Robertson to be the third left-hander in the bullpen behind closer Glen Perkins and Brian Duensing.

Stephen Strasburg homers, knocks in five runs vs. Braves

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Stephen Strasburg‘s bat was on fire Thursday night in Atlanta. He hit a three-run home run off of Touki Toussaint to cap off an eight-run third inning, then added a two-run single off of Toussaint in the fifth.

The last time a pitcher knocked in at least five runs was on April 11, 2014 when Madison Bumgarner homered and drove in five runs at home against the Rockies. Strasburg is just the seventh pitcher since 2000 to knock in five runs in one game. The others, along with Strasburg and Bumgarner:

  • Chris Carpenter (Cardinals) vs. Reds, October 1, 2009 (HR, 6 RBI)
  • Jason Marquis (Cubs) vs. Mets, September 22, 2008 (HR, 5 RBI)
  • Micah Owings (Diamondbacks) vs. Braves, August 18, 2007 (2 HR, 6 RBI)
  • Robert Person (Phillies) vs. Expos, June 2, 2002 (HR, 7 RBI)
  • Shawn Estes (Giants) vs. Expos, May 24, 2000 (HR, 5 RBI)

Strasburg is 3-for-3 overall as he also singled to lead off the third. Tonight’s homer marked the fourth of his career and he’s now up to 25 RBI.

Strasburg is performing well on the mound as well. At the time of this writing, he has held the Braves to a lone run on four hits and a walk with six strikeouts over four innings as the Nationals lead 10-1.