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Posted: 7:17 p.m. Monday, March 24, 2014

Braves look at free-agent lefty Luis Perez

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Braves look at free-agent lefty Luis Perez
Abelimages
Luis Perez #47 of the Toronto Blue Jays throws a pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies during interleague MLB action at The Rogers Centre June 17, 2012 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)

By David O'Brien

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Reliever Luis Perez came to Braves camp to throw for team officials Monday, and the free agent could be an option as an experienced bullpen arm and situational left-hander to complement Luis Avilan.

Perez had arthroscopic surgery in January to remove scar tissue from his elbow, after missing most of the 2013 season recovering from Tommy John surgery. He was out of minor-league options and was released last week by the Blue Jays to open a roster spot after they claimed outfielder Matt Tuiasosopo off waivers from the Arizona.

When healthy, Perez, 29, has been effective against lefty hitters, holding them to a .239 career opponents’ average and .311 on-base percentage in 78 appearances (four starts) over parts of three seasons with Toronto.

He was a big part of the Blue Jays’ bullpen in 2012, when he had a 3.43 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 42 innings and held lefty hitters to a .194 average (12-for-62) with 23 strikeouts.

Perez threw for in front of general manager Frank Wren and his top assistants, along with manager Fredi Gonzalez and pitching coach Roger McDowell, in the bullpen beyond right field at Champion Stadium. Wren declined to identify him or say whether they had interest in signing the pitcher.

The Braves have only one experienced lefty reliever, Avilan, and hope to get Jonny Venters back in June after he completes his rehab from a second Tommy John surgery. They will likely have one of two rookies, Ian Thomas or Atahualpo Severino, on the roster as a second lefty reliever to start the season. Neither has big-league experience.

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