Perez gets quick lesson about pitching in bigs

Perez gets quick lesson about pitching in bigs

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- It didn't take Martin Perez much time to figure out what he was up against in his first go-around against Major League hitters Friday.

The 20-year-old left-hander, the Rangers' No. 2 prospect according to MLB.com's 2012 Prospect Watch, noticed immediately that the players he saw in the Dodgers' lineup -- including All-Stars Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier -- were not the same as those he's been seeing in the Minors.

"They've got different teams here -- all players are good batters," Perez said. "They don't swing at any pitch. They swing at pitches they want, so you need to throw on the corners and down. And if you want to throw the ball outside, throw outside. Don't miss, because they'll swing and something will happen."

Making his Cactus League debut, Perez gave up two runs on three hits and three walks in two innings in the Rangers' 9-0 loss. He admitted to a bout of nerves in the first inning, when he gave up two singles and walked a batter.

"He got behind in the count and you can't get behind in the count and try to get National League hitters out, because they know the fastball's coming," manager Ron Washington said. "You can't pitch behind."

Perez threw 37 pitches, 20 of them for strikes. He walked two hitters in the second, when he said he got caught up trying to throw "the perfect pitch."

"You can't throw the perfect pitch," Perez said. "You need to throw the ball where you want. That's why there were walks."

The southpaw has been involved in a pair of no-hitters in his four-year Minor League career, including a six-inning perfect game in 2011 with Double-A Frisco. He split time last year between Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock, compiling an 8-6 record and 4.33 ERA on the year.