Perez Rounding Into Form

CHARLESTON, SC - Tommy John's surgery sidelined Kelvin Perez for most of the 2008 season, but he is now making up for lost time. He is off to an impressive start in Charleston and finally having the opportunity to display his pitching abilities in the long-season leagues.

Kelvin Perez, who signed with the Yankees as a non-drafted free agent in 2005, debuted in Charleston with a start against the West Virginia Power. In that outing he pitched 6.2 innings with four strike-outs, no walks, and surrendering six hits.

But it was his second appearance with the RiverDogs that generated the most attention. The 6-foot-1 right-hander pitched seven innings with nine strike-outs and only one walk. He allowed only two hits with no runs scored. Thus far this season, Perez has an ERA of 1.37 and a 0.76 WHIP ratio.

Pitching Coach Jeff Ware attributes Perez' success this year to the fact that he has three strong pitches — a plus major league fastball in the 90's, a quality curve ball and a quality changeup.

Perez also possess strong fielding skills.

"He's a very good fielder, makes all of the plays. He is a great athlete out on the mound," Ware stated.

RiverDogs catcher Kyle Higashioka caught for Perez last year in Staten Island. While he feels that Perez possesses a "live" fast ball, he believes that the curveball, with its sharp downward break, is the most effective pitch.

Both Ware and Higashioka give Perez high marks for his composure while pitching. Higashioka describes him as a "bulldog" when on the mound. "He always gets it done," he explained.

"He has good mound presence. He's a competitor, he knows how to compete," Ware said. "He knows when to step it up a notch when he needs to."

There is one thing that Ware would like to see Perez improve upon this season.

"Delivery is the main issue, but just a minor issue, at that," he explained. "Once he starts repeating his delivery over and over, it's going to help his curveball quite a bit. Sometimes he casts his curveball a little and it doesn't get that hard bite that we are looking for."

Ware also believes that achieving consistency with his delivery will also help his command in the long run.

Perez, speaking through an interpreter, said he is feeling fine now after his 2007 surgery. He is not experiencing any pain or feeling any "tweaks."

He believes that things are beginning to fall into place. And now that he is pitching without discomfort, he said that he is ready to play the game of baseball instead of learning how to pitch through the pain.

When interviewed at the end of last year, Perez had stated that he favored his changeup because that was the pitch he felt most confident throwing. Now, he feels confidence in all of his pitches.

At the present time, he is working on a sinker with his fastball. His thought process with his fastball is to get ahead in the count and to go right after the hitters.

Perez feels that he had a good Spring Training and is looking forward to a successful season. His goals? To help the team, to dominate the league and to progress upward in the Yankee organization.

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\r\n \r\n\r\nKelvin Perez, who signed with the Yankees as a non-drafted free agent in 2005, debuted in Charleston with a start against the West Virginia Power. In that outing he pitched 6.2 innings with four strike-outs, no walks, and surrendering six hits.
\r\n
\r\nBut it was his second appearance with the RiverDogs that generated the most attention. The 6-foot-1 right-hander pitched seven innings with nine strike-outs and only one walk. He allowed only two hits with no runs scored. Thus far this season, Perez has an ERA of 1.37 and a 0.76 WHIP ratio.
\r\n
\r\nPitching Coach Jeff Ware attributes Perez' success this year to the fact that he has three strong pitches — a plus major league fastball in the 90's, a quality curve ball and a quality changeup.
\r\n
\r\nPerez also possess strong fielding skills.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's a very good fielder, makes all of the plays. He is a great athlete out on the mound,\" Ware stated.
\r\n
\r\nRiverDogs catcher Kyle Higashioka caught for Perez last year in Staten Island. While he feels that Perez possesses a \"live\" fast ball, he believes that the curveball, with its sharp downward break, is the most effective pitch.
\r\n
\r\nBoth Ware and Higashioka give Perez high marks for his composure while pitching. Higashioka describes him as a \"bulldog\" when on the mound. \"He always gets it done,\" he explained.
\r\n
\r\n\"He has good mound presence. He's a competitor, he knows how to compete,\" Ware said. \"He knows when to step it up a notch when he needs to.\"
\r\n
\r\nThere is one thing that Ware would like to see Perez improve upon this season.
\r\n
\r\n\"Delivery is the main issue, but just a minor issue, at that,\" he explained. \"Once he starts repeating his delivery over and over, it's going to help his curveball quite a bit. Sometimes he casts his curveball a little and it doesn't get that hard bite that we are looking for.\"
\r\n
\r\nWare also believes that achieving consistency with his delivery will also help his command in the long run.
\r\n
\r\nPerez, speaking through an interpreter, said he is feeling fine now after his 2007 surgery. He is not experiencing any pain or feeling any \"tweaks.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe believes that things are beginning to fall into place. And now that he is pitching without discomfort, he said that he is ready to play the game of baseball instead of learning how to pitch through the pain.
\r\n
\r\nWhen interviewed at the end of last year, Perez had stated that he favored his changeup because that was the pitch he felt most confident throwing. Now, he feels confidence in all of his pitches.
\r\n
\r\nAt the present time, he is working on a sinker with his fastball. His thought process with his fastball is to get ahead in the count and to go right after the hitters.
\r\n
\r\nPerez feels that he had a good Spring Training and is looking forward to a successful season. His goals? To help the team, to dominate the league and to progress upward in the Yankee organization.
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

Are you a monthly or 3-month subscriber to PinstripesPlus.com? Why not get two months free AND get 4 issues of our PinstripesPlus Magazine included by becoming an annual subscriber? Upgrade today to get the most out of your subscription.

\r\n

\r\n

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