Perez joins contending Astros with eyes on October
Left-hander acquired by Houston in trade with D-backs
OAKLAND -- Comparing it to the first day of school, new Astros left-hander Oliver Perez was thrilled to join a club in contention Sunday at the Coliseum and hoped to put himself in position to win the World Series championship ring that's eluded him during his 13-year career.
Perez, wearing uniform No. 38, made his debut for the Astros in Sunday's 5-4 loss to the A's after being acquired Friday in a trade with the D-backs. Perez, who will be used primarily in relief against left-handed batters, retired the only batter he faced on Sunday, pinch-hitter Billy Butler -- a right-handeded batter -- on a grounder to short.
"You just try to say hi to everybody and keep to yourself a little bit and you feel like it's the first time at school," Perez said. "You feel excited and nervous at the same time. I feel like a rookie right now."
Lefties have hit .183 this year against Perez, 33, who is anything but a rookie, which is why the Astros are pleased to have him aboard. He posted a 3.10 ERA in 48 games for Arizona this year with 37 strikeouts in 29 innings and is 67-80 with a 4.42 ERA in 416 career appearances, including 195 starts. The Astros are his sixth team.
"He's been around the league so much and he's been in every situation possible," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I have to imagine he's excited to join a team. We just played them so he got to see us up close and personal. He knows we have a good culture and a good vibe. He'll add to that. He's got a great personality and is willing to do anything and that's all you ask for in my shoes in a reliever that's going to be leaned upon in certain outs."
When management summoned him to talk late Friday, Perez joked that he thought he might get traded or released. He's been traded before, most notably being sent from the Pirates in 2006 to the Mets, who won the National League East that year.
"Normally when you play baseball you want to get a ring and I don't have one yet," Perez said. "My last time I was in the playoffs, that was in 2006 and I was traded at that time, too. That made me remember what happened in 2006 and I feel happy because that's what we play for, trying to get to postseason, trying to get a ring."