Martin Perez wants to attack hitters early in counts. He didn’t do that against the Dodgers’ Hanley Ramirez on Friday afternoon and it cost him and the Rangers.
Ramirez’s first-inning, two-run homer on the first pitch he saw from Perez was all the Dodgers needed for a 2-1 victory at Camelback Ranch.
Perez regrouped and held Los Angeles scoreless the rest of his three-inning stint. The Rangers’ staff combined to hold the Dodgers to three hits. Michael Kirkman pitched three hitless innings and Pedro Figueroa and Wilmer Font each pitched a scoreless frame.
“I think I need to work a little more on my balance,” said Perez, who walked three and struck out two. “I move too quick to the third-base line. I need to focus and stay in my line and attack more with my fastball.”
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Perez feels ready to assume a full-time starting role, he said, after going 10-6 in 20 starts last season.
“I’m more experienced and learn every day,” he said. “This year is a new year but I have a conviction that I can pitch better than I did last year.”
Jurickson Profar collected his ninth hit and drove in his 10th run of the spring in the seventh, but Texas failed to take advantage of a potential big inning. Adrian Beltre singled to lead off and Nomar Mazara walked to bring up pinch hitter Kensuke Tanaka with no outs. Tanaka’s sacrifice bunt pushed pinch runner Josh Wilson to third and Mazara to second. Profar’s groundout scored Wilson, but Bryan Petersen struck out to end the inning. Texas stranded 13 base runners.