TAMPA BAY, Fla. -- Former Columbia outfielder Fernando Perez was recalled to the Tampa Bay Rays from Triple-A Durham, it was announced late Sunday evening. The move makes Perez eligible for postseason play, should the first-place Rays maintain their standing atop the American League East.
The New Jersey native will be in a Rays uniform on Tuesday, September 2 when Tampa Bay hosts the Yankees in a three-game series at Tropicana Field. Each game begins at 7:10 Eastern time and can be seen in the New York metropolitan area on the YES Network.
Perez had an outstanding season with Durham, batting .288 with 86 runs scored, 43 stolen bases and 11 triples. Perez ranked second in the International League in runs, was third in steals and tied for second in triples before his promotion.
The overriding factors in Perez's callup were his speed and defense, according to Andrew Friedman, Tampa Bay's executive vice president of baseball operations.
“We felt like he’s got a unique skill set that if we wanted to go that way would help diversify us a little bit,” Friedman said of Perez.
A seventh-round draft pick in 2004, the switch-hitting Perez has risen quickly through the ranks. In 2005 he was selected the Single-A Southwest Michigan Devil Rays Player of the Year. The following year, Perez led the minor leagues with 123 runs scored, en route to being named team MVP of the Single-A Visalia Oaks.
Perez spent the 2007 season with the Montgomery Biscuits in Double-A where he was chosen a Southern League postseason all-star after finishing the season with 121 hits, 84 runs, and a Biscuits’ single-season record of 32 stolen bases.