TORONTO -- Luis Perez was handed the loss after surrendering four runs in the 10th inning of Friday night's contest against the Mariners, but the left-hander has emerged as one of the Blue Jays' most steady relievers.
Entering Friday's contest against the Mariners, the 27-year-old has thrown the most innings in the Majors by a reliever without allowing a run and ranks fourth in the American League in WHIP among relief pitchers who have thrown at least 10 innings.
Perez's dominance has prompted many to ask manager John Farrell if the lefty would get a look in the rotation should any injuries occur, but Farrell says he would prefer to leave him in his current role.
"Because he hasn't been stretched out, we would go to others first," Farrell said of Perez, who started four games with the Blue Jays in 2011. "Then if opportunities came to stretch him out, then that would be plan B.
"At this point, we haven't put him on the depth chart in that role [starting]. He's become such a valuable member of the bullpen, I'd hate to take away from one strength when we might have other options that might be equal to him in the rotation."
According to Farrell, those options include Jesse Chavez and Joel Carreno, who are starting at Triple-A Las Vegas, and Chad Jenkins who is at Double-A New Hampshire.
Complicating a potential switch to the rotation for Perez is that he's out of options, meaning Toronto would risk losing him through waivers if the club sent him to the Minors to get some starts under his belt.
Perhaps the biggest reason Farrell wants Perez to continue working out of the bullpen is that he can log multiple innings and is not just a situational lefty.
"He has adjusted as his outings and experience have grown," Farrell said. "The use of his changeup, he's tightened up his breaking ball, he pitches with an awful lot of confidence. It gives him the ability to attack lefties and righties with equal efficiency. He has really evolved into a good left-handed reliever.
"He's extremely valuable to us in the role he's in."
The Dominican native has held both right-handers and left-handers to below a .160 batting average and a sub-.400 OPS and is tied with three others for the second-most strikeouts in the AL among all relievers with 14.