Toronto Blue Jays’ Luis Perez On Comeback Trail To Expedite Darren Oliver’s Retirement

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

You know, I think Darren Oliver might just be too old for this … stuff.

If the Toronto Blue Jays veteran’s body language (well, and also the results) in his four-hit, one-walk, three-run implosion over 0.2 innings on Sunday against the Oakland Athletics was any indication, you might say that he’s just about checked out of the 2013 season.

For good reason too, really. There wasn’t much of a point for Toronto to have hung on to him at the trade deadline, just like there really isn’t much that he put off retirement to pitch for these days. So,  even if he’s been fine in this three other outings since the All-Star break, I think it’s fair to say that motivation might be something of a factor here.

Fortunately for the Blue Jays, they may soon be getting a closer look at what the exciting future might hold at the lefty bullpen specialist for the team for next season.

You know the saying “lose a Perez, gain a Perez”? (hint: it’s not an actual saying) Well, just as Juan Perez makes his exit on stage left to have Tommy John surgery, lefty Luis Perez could be getting ready to enter stage right having recovered from Tommy John surgery.

It won’t be immediate, though, as Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com reports that he did suffer a minor setback (common among TJ survivors) which will push his schedule back a bit, though “another rehab assignment could begin as early as next week,  according to general manager Alex Anthopoulos.”

Perez’s return would give the very overworked bullpen (the Blue Jays lead all MLB bullpens with 410.1 innings pitched) some much-needed relief, though how effective he might be initially coming off surgery is definitely an unknown at this point. The 28-year-old was something of a minor revelation last season, posting a 3.43/1.29 ERA/WHIP over 42 innings for the bluebirds with a strong 2.44 K/BB prior to his elbow giving out.

Particularly to Toronto’s interest is that much like another lefty reliever who became an All-Star this season, Perez shows elite splits vs. LHP (11.94 K/9, 3.12 BB/9, .586 OPSA over 17.1 innings) as opposed to his mediocre results against righties, which would allow him to slot in nicely in situational relief along with Aaron Loup while Brett Cecil (assuming he’s still with the team next season) takes over Oliver’s old setup role in 2014.

There’s still a long ways to that happening, of course, but you know, I think both the Blue Jays and Oliver will be pretty happy with that.

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