SURPRISE, Ariz. -- For a big league pitcher, it's never a good time to be struck by a line drive in the pitching arm, causing a bone break. But the timing really couldn't have been much worse for Rangers prospect Martin Perez.
The 21-year-old left-hander had staked his claim as a frontrunner for the Rangers' No. 5 spot in the rotation with an impressive spring. Now he'll be out at least until May with a fractured left forearm. Fortunately for Texas, it's not a complete break.
An upbeat Perez spoke with reporters before the Rangers' workout on Monday morning, saying there's nothing he can do about the injury -- which occurred during Sunday's 7-6 loss to the Mariners -- except stay positive in his recovery.
"I don't want to think a lot about [the injury]," Perez said. "I just want to be focused on what I need to do to be ready in a couple months and help the team."
Perez will be out of action for four weeks before he begins his recovery. The club is hopeful he'll at least be able to do shoulder and elbow exercises during that time, because the cast on his left arm extends down his forearm.
Perez, Texas' No. 6 prospect according to MLB.com's Prospect Watch , tossed two scoreless innings against Colorado in his spring debut. He had allowed a run against Seattle and was into his second inning of work when the ball struck him.
"When I moved my hand [after being struck], I felt a little break," Perez said. "When the doctor said, 'OK, you have to take four weeks,' I said, 'OK, I'm done for this month,' and I set my mind to what I need to do now."
In a brief stint last season with the big league club, Perez went 1-4 with a 5.45 ERA. He made 12 appearances -- six as a starter and six out of the 'pen. Manager Ron Washington praised the way Perez handled his injury, pointing to what he saw last year as the beginning of Perez's maturity.
"The results may not have been there, but he was out there competing," Washington said. "You begin to believe that you can. Once you get that feeling inside of you, then maturity begins to show."
Perez said he was overwhelmed by all the support he received from teammates in the clubhouse and fans on Twitter. He noted that the situation is a new one for him because he's never been injured for an extended period of time before -- not even in Little League.