The Red Sox have removed left-hander Martin Perez from their starting rotation and moved him to the bullpen, manager Alex Cora announced Friday.
Perez recorded just four outs while surrendering three runs in his latest start against the Tigers in Detroit on Thursday, hence the move to demote him to the bullpen.
Including Thursday’s outing, the 30-year-old has posted an ERA of 4.77 and FIP of 4.90 with 85 strikeouts and 33 walks over 22 starts spanning exactly 100 innings of work this season.
After tossing 7 2/3 scoreless innings against the Astros at Minute Maid Park on June 3, Perez has struggled mightily since then, pitching to the tune of a 7.13 ERA and 1.073 OPS against in his last 11 starts and 41 2/3 innings pitched.
As The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier pointed out on Thursday, Perez has made nine starts of four innings or fewer so far this year, which is the most in the American League and tied for the most in all of Major League Baseball.
While Perez may have made his final start for the Red Sox this season, Cora still believes the veteran southpaw can provide value out of the bullpen, especially with fellow lefty Darwinzon Hernandez being sidelined with a right oblique strain at the moment.
“Obviously with Darwinzon (Hernandez) being down, having that third lefty (in the bullpen) is something I’ve been telling Chaim (Bloom) will be good, especially against a few teams in this division now,” Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) prior to Friday’s game against the Blue Jays. “Obviously New York is not as right-handed as they were early. Tampa, the Yankees and obviously we’re going to play some teams that have a lot of switch-hitters. So I do believe somehow, someway, he’s going to help us out of the bullpen.”
With Perez, who owns a lifetime 4.60 ERA in 16 career relief appearances (31 1/3 innings pitched) heading to the Boston bullpen, Tanner Houck will likely be taking the lefty’s spot in the Sox’ starting rotation.
Houck, who threw a simulated game in Detroit on Monday, will start the night cap of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
Over six appearances (four starts) for the Red Sox this season, the 25-year-old right-hander has produced a 2.45 ERA and 1.71 FIP to go along with 30 strikeouts and just five walks in 22 1/3 innings of work.
In addition to Houck essentially re-joining Boston’s starting rotation this weekend, Chris Sale’s return is on the horizon as the ace left-hander prepares to make what should be his final rehab start with Triple-A Worcester on Saturday.
That being said, one has to wonder if Garrett Richards’ spot in the rotation could be in jeopardy as well if Cora and Co. want to roll with five starters (Sale, Houck, Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta, Eduardo Rodriguez) relatively soon.
(Picture of Martin Perez: Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)