Perez begins new role in bullpen with Mariners

Perez begins new role in bullpen with Mariners

PHOENIX -- The latest phase in the on-again, off-again career of left-hander Oliver Perez began in earnest again on Monday with the Mariners when he made his first appearance on a Major League mound in nearly two years.

Perez replaced Shawn Kelley with two out in the seventh inning of Seattle's 7-1 loss to the D-backs. The 30-year-old veteran from Mexico, who was just brought up from Triple-A Tacoma, induced a Jason Kubel groundout to end the seventh and allowed a hit and walk in a scoreless eighth.

He made his last Major League appearance on Oct. 3, 2010, for the Mets. The Mariners are his fourth big league team.

"I thought he was really good. I was really impressed with Oliver," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "He looked comfortable out there. He was tough on the left-handers and he handled the right-handers pretty well. Good stuff. Good arm. Good velocity. It was a real good first outing for him."

Perez is pegged as a member of the Seattle bullpen and he must make a major adjustment after starting 195 of the first 207 appearances he's made in his 10-year career. Perez played himself off the Mets and nearly out of baseball because of his propensity to walk batters. He has averaged 5.1 walks per nine innings.

"I'm not sure how we're going to use him. I just told him to be ready to pitch," Wedge said. "But he's a bullpen guy all the way. This may be drastic, but it should be a good thing for him. He's really committed to it. It's been a long road for him. It's been a tough road for him. But he hasn't given in to the fight. No doubt, this is the best thing for him, to go down to the bullpen and reinvent himself."

Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.