Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune reports that the Pirates have signed lefty reliever Rafael Perez to a minor league deal. He’ll report to Triple-A Indianapolis.
Perez, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012. Last season, he pitched at Double-A for the Red Sox (30 2/3 innings) and at Triple-A for the Twins (four innings), posting a combined 2.60 ERA. This season, he has pitched at Triple-A with the Rangers (3 2/3 innings) and in the Mexican League with Rojos del Águila de Veracruz.
Over seven seasons in the major leagues, Perez has posted a 3.52 ERA in 329 innings.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.
Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”
Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.
Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.