HEADLINE

Perez heads to bullpen before Rangers open series vs. Twins

The Sports Xchange

August 30, 2018 at 8:54 pm.

Texas left-hander Martin Perez won’t be on the mound to start any of the Rangers’ three games this weekend against the Minnesota Twins.

If fact, Perez is likely to have started his last game in a Rangers uniform after the team told him he will pitch out of the bullpen for the final month of the season and that it did not plan to pick up his option for 2019.

The Twins will send left-hander Stephen Gonsalves (0-2, 11.37 ERA) to the mound for the series opener on Friday at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers will counter with right-hander Drew Hutchinson (2-2, 6.52).

The Rangers were looking for an improved season from Perez after he finished strong in 2017, when he won a career-high 13 games. But he suffered a right elbow injury in an offseason accident at his ranch in Venezuela and was 2-3 with a 9.67 ERA in five starts in April.

Perez was then placed on the disabled list with more problems in the right arm. Since being activated on July 14, he is 0-3 with a 5.68 ERA in eight starts.

The Rangers told Perez of their decision in a meeting after a 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night, Texas’ fourth straight setback.

“It surprised me,” Perez said. “I understand, you know, the way I’ve been pitching. I can’t get mad. But 100 percent I wasn’t waiting for that. That surprised me.

“Tough year for me — surgery, the ups and downs — and that’s when you need to have your mind strong and fight with the bad result that you have after the games and during the game. It’s just part of the game, man.”

Minnesota heads to Texas after a 5-3 loss in Cleveland on Thursday afternoon, in the process dropping a three-game series to the Indians.

The Twins have now lost three straight series and head to Texas a season-high-tying 14 games behind Cleveland in the American League Central standings.

Twins left fielder Eddie Rosario left Thursday’s game in the fifth inning with a right quad strain he sustained while running to first base in the fourth.

“We’ll probably find out tomorrow what we’re looking at,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “I would imagine he’s not going to play in Texas. He said it was on the last step.”

The 26-year-old Rosario has been Minnesota’s best all-around player this year, hitting .292 with 22 homers, 31 doubles and 74 RBIs in 130 games.

Rosario told MLB.com that he’d never experienced a similar injury.

“I feel in pain,” Rosario said. “It just felt like I pulled my muscle. I was trying to play through it, but the pain is there.”

Gonsalves is making his third career start and first against Texas. He suffered the loss in his last start on Aug. 25 at home against Oakland after allowing four runs, seven hits and four walks with two strikeouts in five innings.

Gonsalves began the season in Double-A Chattanooga, where he went 3-0 in four starts with a 1.77 ERA. At Triple-A Rochester, was 9-3 with a 2.96 ERA with 55 walks and 95 strikeouts.

Hutchison will make his fifth start for Texas. He is 1-1 with an 8.83 ERA in four starts and opponents are hitting .329 in that span. He is 2-0 with a 4.41 ERA in three starts against the Twins, but will be facing them for the first time since 2015.