Go ahead and insert your own bull-related joke here. Unfortunately for Martin Perez and the Texas Rangers, this isn’t a bunch of BS.
But it doesn’t stink.
The left-hander is expected to miss the first month of the 2018 season after he broke his non-throwing elbow during a fall after being startled by a bull at his ranch in Venezuela.
General manager Jon Daniels relayed the story Tuesday after the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy. Perez was injured Dec. 11, flew to Arlington a few days later and underwent surgery Monday.
Perez can begin a throwing program in mid-January, and he is telling the Rangers that he will be ready by Opening Day. Daniels, though, said that there is concern about Perez’s upper body regaining strength it will lose during the recovery.
“What Martin told me was a bull moved in a way that he wasn’t expecting,” Daniels said. “I don’t know if it was aggressive at him or if he just perceived it that way, and he lunged out of the way and landed on his right arm.”
Daniels said that he is not seeking a pitcher to replace Perez in the rotation because he should miss only a few starts. The Rangers open the season with 14 consecutive games, so they will be unable to skip a turn in the rotation.
If Perez is on the disabled list to open the season, right-hander Austin Bibens-Dirkx is a candidate to fill in for him. The Rangers signed him to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training the season after he was voted as their rookie of the year.
The Rangers gave the same deal to Erik Goeddel, who has pitched in relief the past four seasons for the New York Mets.
Daniels said that the Rangers continue to look for starting pitching, albeit more in an effort to add depth than to add to the five starters already in place. To that end, Daniels said that the Rangers have not scheduled a meeting with free agent Yu Darvish and aren’t planning to talk to their former right-hander whose price tag supposedly would put the Rangers well over budget.
“We’ve been very consistent I feel like in what we’ve said about that topic,” Daniels said. “Nothing’s changed. I think we’ve been very clear from Day One on our likely intentions.”
Perez broke the radial head in his right elbow, and Dr. Thomas Diliberti of Dallas replaced the bone with an artificial one. Doing that speeds up the recovery time, as there is no longer a bone that needs to heal, and Perez already has a full range of motion.
The Rangers exercised a $6 million club option on him after the season after he went 13-12 with a 4.88 ERA in 32 starts. Perez finished the season by allowing three or fewer runs in nine of his final 12 starts.