Lefty Martin Perez, considered the front runner for the Rangers’ #5 spot in the rotation, suffered a fracture of the ulna bone when a line drive was hit back up the middle and struck him in this afternoon’s spring training game against the Mariners. Perez hadn’t allowed a hit in his three innings of work prior to the injury.
The top prospect, soon to be 22 years old, could return in May. In 38 innings in the Majors last year, Perez posted a 5.45 ERA. Baseball America has listed him in their top-100 rankings in each of the last five years.
Justin Grimm is fighting for the fifth rotation spot as well, but gave up six runs in 2.1 innings after entering the game following Perez’s removal. Mike Peasley points out that the Rangers wouldn’t necessarily need a fifth starter until the eighth game of the season due to two off-days.
The Rangers have “remained in contact” with free agent starter Kyle Lohse’s agent Scott Boras. The Perez injury may open up the door for Lohse.
Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.
Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.
Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.