MILWAUKEE -- An unsung hero of the Brewers' recently competitive stretch -- they have played .500 ball since May 1 after Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Nationals -- is Hernan Perez, whose versatility is key to the club's ability to carry an extra reliever.Perez on Saturday made his fifth start
MILWAUKEE -- An unsung hero of the Brewers' recently competitive stretch -- they have played .500 ball since May 1 after Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Nationals -- is Hernan Perez, whose versatility is key to the club's ability to carry an extra reliever.
Perez on Saturday made his fifth start in right field, where he's played against left-handed pitchers. With starter Domingo Santana on the disabled list indefinitely with an elbow injury, Perez gives the Brewers an additional right-handed-hitting outfield option opposite left fielder Ryan Braun.
"It's important," manager Craig Counsell said of Perez's versatility. "We've been with eight relievers for a while, so you're looking for different ways to use your position-player group to cover that [lost] spot. Hernan is covering a lot of spots right now."
He is the only extra infielder on the roster, but his presence has been felt equally in the outfield. Entering the season, Perez had appeared only three times as an outfielder -- twice in the Venezuelan Winter League, and once in the Arizona Fall League when he was a Tigers prospect.
When it became clear the Brewers could need him there, Perez went through an outfield crash course with third-base coach and longtime outfield instructor Ed Sedar.
"Eddie Sedar told me from the first day we had Hernan go out there, 'He can handle it,'" Counsell said. "Really, from the first day. From Day 1, he's been a 'go' on it. So Eddie gave a pretty high recommendation and [Perez] has delivered on it."
He has also delivered at the plate this season. Perez entered Sunday batting .307 (23-for-75) with 11 RBIs over his last 26 games.
Defensively, Perez's top play came in San Francisco on June 14, when he made a sliding catch to take away a hit from Angel Pagan:
Proving that versatility, Perez manned third base the next day and made the highlight reel again with a sliding pick-and-throw against Buster Posey:
And on Saturday at Miller Park, Perez showed a capable arm when he threw home on Clint Robinson's sacrifice fly. The runner was safe on a close play:
"He's passed all the tests for me," Counsell said. "I have no reservations about putting him out in the outfield."
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.