Revs bring back Perez, add catcher
The move had some risks to it when former York Revolution manager Andy Etchebarren brought in Andres Perez last off-season.
Perez had proven he could hold his own in the Atlantic League after batting .313 with 15 homers and 54 RBIs in 87 games with the Bridgeport Bluefish in 2011. But Etchebarren wanted to try moving Perez from the outfield to second base.
Despite not having regularly played the infield since high school, Perez blossomed at second base as the 2012 season progressed, mainly thanks to the teachings of former player-coach Liu Rodriguez.
The Stony Brook University product also had his best season at the plate last year. Batting in the No. 5 slot most of the year behind slugger Chris Nowak, Perez set career-highs in batting average (.321), home runs (23), RBIs (85), runs scored (85), hits (159) and extra-base hits (61).
Now he’ll have the task of living up those numbers again in a Revs’ uniform. York announced Friday that Perez will be returning for the 2013 season. The club also announced the signing of catcher Patrick Arlis, bringing the number of players under contract for the upcoming season to seven.
Perez: A former prospect of the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers, Perez last played affiliated ball in 2010, when he hit .285 in only 41 games at High Class A Inland Empire (Dodgers). He hasn’t played above that level in his six years as a pro.
His efforts last season helped him earn post-season all-Atlantic League first-team honors while also being named to the Baseball America Independent League All-Star Team. Given the performance, Revs’ manager Mark Mason is somewhat surprised Perez had trouble finding interest from big league clubs.
“I think he thought he had a deal from Mexico that was in place when our season was over,” Mason said. “Then a month ago he got a call and told us that fell through and he’s available.”
Perez, 28, ranked fourth in the league in homers and fifth in RBIs in 2012. He also led York in batting average. With Perez and third baseman Andy Marte under contract, the Revs are still in search of a short stop and first baseman with spring training about two months away.
Arlis: Arlis will enter his 13th year as a pro playing for the Atlantic League for the first time in his career. He comes to York after splitting time last saeson between American Association clubs Amarillo and El Paso, where he batted a combined .275 in 81 games.
“I have a lot of good reports on him,” Mason said. “I knew people in that league who had seen him play. He played with Nowak in the Brewers’ organization at some point. He’s a really good defensive catcher. He can hit put the ball in play and he handles pitching staffs really well.”
An 11th round draft pick of the Miami Marlins in 2002, Arlis reached Class AAA Albuquerque in 2007 before being released that season and joining the Kansas City T-Bones in the independent Northern League. He spent the following season playing in the independent Golden League before joining the Milwaukee Brewers’ organization in 2009. The Illinois native played mostly at the Brewers’ Class AAA Nashville club through 2011 before going to the American Association in 2012.
Catching plans: The Revs now have two catchers under contract in Arlis and Salvador Paniagua. Mason said he plans to start one catcher the majority of the year. It would be a change from last season when Travis Scott and Salvador Paniagua splitting catching duties before the Revs dropped Paniagua for Salomon Manriquez. Mason said the starting gig will have to be earned in spring training.
“As of right now we haven’t really made a definite decision yet on how we’re gonna handle everything behind the plate,” Mason said. “We’ll take a look at guys when they come into camp.”
Although the Revs have two catchers signed, Mason said Manriquez still isn’t out of the picture.
“Manny is still in the picture as well. Right now we are looking at three catchers,” Mason said. “Manny is gonna play for Spain in the Wolrd Bsaeball Classic.”
Pitching plans: In regards to last week’s signings of left-handed pitchers Kris Regas and Yunior Novoa, changes could be in place for the pair of relievers.
Mason said he plans to try Regas as a starter in 2013.
“When I talked to Kris this off-season about coming back we agreed I would give him the opportunity to come back as a starter and if it didn’t work out then he’ll go back in the bullpen,” Mason said. “We’ll give him the opportunity to log more innings and show what he can do.”
Regas actually left the Revs before the start of the 2012 season to go to the Mexican League, where he tried being a starter, something he hadn’t done since 2003. In three starts and two relief appearances for Saltillo, Regas posted an 0-2 record and 6.75 ERA. He gave up 11 earned runs in 14.2 innings of work, striking out 11 and walking 10. He went at least five innings in just one of his starts. He came back to York about a month later.
Novoa, meanwhile, will make the switch from a long-inning reliever to a one-inning guy.
“We know Yunior can pitch mulitiple innings out of the pen and last year we used him in long relief and he didn’t pitch for seven or eight days,” Mason said. “I think he proved his stuff is good enough for a one-inning guy this year and we can use him on back-to-back days more often.”