OAKLAND, Calif. — If the Twins had kept him on schedule, Martin Perez would have pitched Wednesday night in Oakland and missed his former team entirely.
Instead, the Twins pushed him back to Friday — for a few different reasons, manager Rocco Baldelli said — which puts Perez on a collision course with the Texas Rangers, the organization that signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela, developed him and gave him the chance to become a big leaguer.
“I’m going to continue to pitch how I’ve been doing. I just want to stay focused the whole game,” Perez said. “I know they’re going to try to play around me like laughing and all that kind of stuff but I don’t have time for that so I’m just going to do my best to win the game.”
Of course, it’s not just another team for Perez, who first reached the majors in 2012 and pitched for the Rangers until 2018.
After a bumpy 2018 season with the Rangers that included an early injury and move to the bullpen, Perez did not have his option picked up by Texas after the season.
That set the stage for the move to Minnesota.
Perez enters the series with the Rangers with a 4.15 ERA. He is coming off a sparkling seven-inning effort against the Rays in which he gave up just two runs on three hits.
“I was a good teammate when I was there. I was a good leader down there. They still call me and they still miss me and I miss my guys, too, but this is a business and now I’m here,” Perez said. “I represent the Twins. It’s an honor for me to be here, too. I know that I was there for a long time but like I said, it’s a business and sometimes you need a change in your career. It happened to me and I’m happy to be here but yeah, I miss my guys.”
Testing negative on Gonzalez
The Twins got good news with test results on Marwin Gonzalez’s bruised big toe, but they held him out of the lineup Thursday for the second straight day regardless.
Baldelli said he was available if needed but they would reassess him when they returned to Minnesota. Gonzalez fouled a ball off his toe in Tuesday’s game against the Athletics.
“After a couple of days he’s going to be OK to get out there,” Baldelli said. “…He is sore and we just want to let him heal up as opposed to putting him out there, forcing it and causing something else to happen that we don’t want to happen.”
Twins outright Vasquez
The Twins created some space on their 40-man roster on Thursday, outrighting Andrew Vasquez to Triple-A, where Vasquez has been pitching for a majority of this season. The move puts the Twins’ 40-man roster at 39.
Vasquez, who pitched in nine games for the Twins last season, was only briefly in the majors this season. He walked two batters and gave up three runs in a rocky appearance, not retiring a batter before he was removed from an April game against the Mets.