Report: Perez to be Called Up?

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Reports on the 16th indicate that Hanshin manager Yutaka Wada (53) is considering calling Nelson Perez (27) up from the farm in an attempt to win the league pennant. Gomez is slumping in September, hitting just .167, and Murton has been showing mental instability as he shows his dissatisfaction with the umpires. Management is looking longingly at the hard-working Dominican on the farm.

Wada showed up at Naruohama where the young Western League Tigers were warming up for their showdown against the Carp on the 15th. Before the game he was sitting by development coordinator (Masayuki) Kakefu, gazing out on the field from the executive box.

A representative from the farm team says he showed a keen interest in Perez’s current condition. Kakefu also explained, “We talked about how things are coming along.” Wada left the game to get back to Koshien immediately after Perez hit a single to center with two outs and a runner on first in the third inning. It sure seems like his main focus was checking out Perez.

Acquired in June, Perez has appeared in 42 games in the Western League, hitting .323. He has a team high 11 home runs and shows the ability get multi-base hits. His natural position is left field, but he also has shown the ability to play first, so he could be used at multiple positions as well.

Number 95 (Perez) also came to Koshien after the farm team’s game to both cheer on the parent club and also to observe. The more Gomez and Murton continue to struggle, the more his chances of being promoted increase.

Translator’s Opinion: As much as I would love to see Perez on the parent club, I do not think mid-to-late September with the pennant on the line is the right time to do it. If the pennant race were over (for better or worse) I might think otherwise. If it were still August, I would say “go for it.” But now? Perez has proven that he can hit the long ball… against second-class pitchers in second-class ballparks. Could he get the same results against Kenta Maeda or Miles Mikolas? I’m skeptical. I’d like to see him try… in 2016!

As for Gomez, he has a few doubles in the past week, and is showing signs of snapping out of his month-long slump. I don’t think you kick the defending RBI King to the curb because of this stretch. You don’t say, “You carried us last year, and half of this year, but what have you done lately? We’re going to take a chance on the young guy. When the season is on the line, we’re going with unproven talent over you.” In the words of Matt Murton, “It’s a long season, we all go through good stretches and bad ones. You gotta just keep believing, though.”

Speaking of #9, here is another guy who showed good signs of returning to form on Tuesday. His double was a nicely pulled ball, and although he did not reach base the rest of the game, he hit another nice liner and contributed with a sacrifice fly. He looked good and seemed in better spirits this week. His anger towards the umps for their calls on balls and strikes does not warrant a demotion.

I have listened to some podcasts and read some articles, and the consensus (albeit among Tigers fans) is that the strike zone was extremely generous for the Carp pitchers on the weekend. As a hitter, what can you do? If you leave the “close” ones, you get called for strikes and look bad for not swinging the stick. If you swing, your chances of making proper connection are slim to none. It is definitely frustrating when you are in such a predicament. Expressing it towards the umpires themselves may not be the wise thing to do, but in the heat of battle sometimes these things happen.

My conclusion: Let the rumor fly but don’t act on it. This will hopefully give Perez continued motivation while also lighting a bit of a fire under our two current imports. But I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: you gotta dance with the one(s) that brung ya.

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T-Ray is the founder, chief writer and Junior Executive Vice President of Hanshin Tigers English News (H-TEN). Find him on Twitter @thehanshintiger.