Rangers rookie Martin Perez gets another chance to face Venezuelan hero Felix Hernandez

Posted Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Martin Perez was born and raised in Venezuela, where Miguel Cabrera is the big star and Felix Hernandez checks in at second in popularity.

Perez, though, grew up a big fan of Hernandez, the Seattle Mariners pitcher who will oppose Perez on Wednesday afternoon for the second time this season. But Perez wasn’t star-struck Aug. 16, and he doesn’t expect to be Wednesday at Safeco Field.

“I’m going to face the team and not Felix,” Perez said. “He’s one of the best pitchers in the league. I’m just going to throw strikes and relax and not put pressure on myself.”

Perez (7-3, 3.62 ERA) will be shooting for his fifth victory of the month, which would be a club rookie record. His four August wins are tied for the most in the American League with Oakland right-hander Jarrod Parker and Cy Young frontrunner Max Scherzer of Detroit.

He beat the Mariners at Rangers Ballpark this month by allowing three runs in seven innings. Seattle started the game with consecutive singles and later got a home run from Kyle Seager, but Perez settled in and finished strong.

“I have to control the game and not let the game control me,” Perez said.

Soria not complaining

Right-hander Joakim Soria pitched a scoreless eighth inning Monday night, his first action in five days and just the 14th inning he has thrown since coming off the disabled list July 7.

The Rangers continue to protect Soria, who missed last season because of Tommy John surgery, and their plan is fine by him.

“It’s understandable their concern,” he said. “I’m coming back from surgery. There are a lot of people with setbacks. I’ve been blessed without a setback. They’ve used me carefully because of that, but if they need me to throw more, they will do it.”

The Rangers liked what they saw from Soria in a low-leverage situation Monday. He threw three straight balls to his first batter, Humberto Quintero, before coming back for the strikeout and retiring the side in order.

The kiddie gloves could be coming off down the stretch.

“We’re going to try to get him the ball the rest of the way as much as we possibly can so he can see hitters,” manager Ron Washington said.

Progress for Ogando

Right-hander Alexi Ogando (shoulder) stretched out his throwing program to 120 feet Tuesday without any issues, and the Rangers expect him to throw off a mound this weekend.

They also expect him to return from his third stint on the disabled list as a starting pitcher, an area where depth has been an issue throughout the season.

“That’s our intention,” Ron Washington said. “We haven’t discussed anything else.”

The Rangers turned to Travis Blackley when Ogando hit the DL again Aug. 22, and the Rangers have won both games the left-hander has started. He will make a third start Sunday against Minnesota.


• Right-hander Nick Tepesch (elbow) allowed a run on three hits in two-plus innings in a rehab start for Double A Frisco. He threw 41 pitches and could make another start before Frisco’s season ends this weekend.

• Neftali Feliz, who is expected to be activated from the 60-day DL on Sunday, is scheduled to pitch one inning Wednesday for Triple A Round Rock.

• Catcher Jorge Alfaro, rated by mlb.com as the Rangers’ top prospect, is one of seven players from the organization who will play in the Arizona Fall League. Joining him are infielders Brett Nicholas and Ryan Rua, and pitchers Ryan Harvey, Will Lamb, Nick McBride and Matt West.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JeffWilson

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