Of everybody who was excited to see Hanford native Tyson Perez land with the Fresno Grizzlies, Perez was probably the least.
Not that the 2008 Hanford High graduate and former Fresno City College star isn’t happy to play for his hometown Triple-A club.
It’s just that everyone around him has seemed more much thrilled for him to be pitching for Fresno — from his family to the Grizzlies coaching staff.
“I don’t know if it was my friends and family more excited than me,” Perez said. “For me, it doesn’t matter where I go. I’ve got to produce where ever I’m at. I get to see Mom and Dad, but I try to treat it like any other place.
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“But it is just nicer to be here. It’s home. Not everybody has that luxury of being home.”
A 17th-round pick in 2011, Perez started this season back at Double-A. But he quickly earned a promotion to Triple-A after three games.
With the Grizzlies since April 12, the right-handed Perez has gone 0-1 with a 3.72 ERA and seven strikeouts in 92/3 innings and seven games. Perez recorded his first save with the Grizzlies on Thursday, recording the final out of an 8-4 win against the El Paso Chihuahuas.
Perez entered with the bases loaded after the Grizzlies already allowed two runs in the ninth, then induced a grounder to short to close out the victory.
“All he’s done since he’s been here is throw strike after strike after strike — he’s been unbelievable,” Grizzlies pitching coach Ace Adams said. “When he first got here, our bullpen was struggling and he picked it up big time.
“He’s been as good as anyone out of our bullpen.”
Perez is the first player from Fresno City to suit up for the Grizzlies since 2008.
And he’s enjoying his time at home. While the rest of his Grizzlies teammates share apartments or houses, Perez lives in his own house in Clovis during the season.
Perez hasn’t let home distractions get to him either, owning a 3.18 ERA with seven strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings at Chukchansi Park.
“I’ve heard a lot of great things about Tyson since I’ve been in the organization,” Grizzlies manager Tony DeFrancesco said. “He’s got a great pitch against lefties, throws a nice cutter, and he throws strikes.
“I’m real pleased with his progress.”
Perez is cautious about his early success. It took him three seasons to graduate from Class-A, so he already knows what frustration in the minors feels like.
Perez said he just wants to focus on performing well, regardless of the level.
“You never know, especially in the minor leagues,” Perez said. “You can go up in a week and go down the next. You always have to be prepared to do your job.”