Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

September callup Perez shows off wheels

MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

ATLANTA -- Before giving way to Yefri Perez on the bases in the eighth inning on Tuesday night, Justin Bour offered first baseman Freddie Freeman some unsolicited advice: Don't play behind the base.

It was nothing Freeman didn't already know, but Perez indeed turned on the burners and stole second. With two outs, he raced home on a wild pitch that provided a big boost in the Marlins' 7-5 victory over the Braves at Turner Field.

Full Game Coverage

ATLANTA -- Before giving way to Yefri Perez on the bases in the eighth inning on Tuesday night, Justin Bour offered first baseman Freddie Freeman some unsolicited advice: Don't play behind the base.

It was nothing Freeman didn't already know, but Perez indeed turned on the burners and stole second. With two outs, he raced home on a wild pitch that provided a big boost in the Marlins' 7-5 victory over the Braves at Turner Field.

Full Game Coverage

"The Yefri run was big to give us a little bit of a cushion," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.

With their National League Wild Card chances dwindling, the Marlins are looking for any jolt they can get. Perez, a September callup from Double-A Jacksonville, is on the roster for one reason only -- to pinch-run. He brings excitement and energy, and he helped manufacture a crucial run.

Actually, Perez can't do anything else besides run because he had surgery on his left thumb a few months ago and just now is doing fielding and hitting drills. But his legs are fresh, and they came in handy on Tuesday.

Bour was issued a walk by Chris Withrow to lead off the eighth after the Braves closed the gap to 6-5 in the seventh. Perez entered for Bour, and his legs did the rest. He stole second before Withrow hit J.T. Realmuto with a pitch. A sacrifice bunt by Adeiny Hechavarria advanced both runners, and Withrow nearly got out of the jam by striking out Jeff Francoeur.

With Dee Gordon up, Withrow bounced a pitch that kicked just far enough away from catcher Tyler Flowers, and Perez dashed to the plate, scoring on a head-first slide.

According to Statcast™, Perez's top speed in the dash reached 20.5 mph, the third-fastest time he has been clocked at this season.

"I was ready, watching the ball, trying to figure out the ball in the dirt," Perez said. "I see the ball, I took a good read. It gave me a chance to score, and I did."

Perez went inside the line to avoid Flowers' tag attempt.

"That was the only way to figure out my spot to slide because I couldn't go straight and maybe hit the catcher," Perez said. "They gave me a spot, and I made the play."

Perez's big league future projects as a super utility player. He can play outfield and infield, plus he is a switch-hitter. He's a similar-style player as Emilio Bonifacio, who was with the Marlins from 2009-12.

"He's a kid that really works hard and just keeps getting better," Mattingly said. "He's a kid in A-ball last year to all of a sudden he's on the big league radar, and right now it's for speed. But we think he works so hard and has such a good attitude. He can play infield/outfield. He's kind of in that Bonifacio mold as a guy that can fly and play multiple positions. We think he's going to be an exciting player for us in the years to come."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miami Marlins, Yefri Perez