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Hernan Perez making adjustments at shortstop and at bat

06/15/2014, 12:00am EDT
By JOHN WAGNER BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish understands the situation Hernan Perez has faced this season.

“He has played shortstop here, and twice the Tigers have called up a shortstop — and it hasn’t been him,” Parrish said. “That can be tough on anyone mentally.

“We’ve talked to him about it, trying to keep him moving forward. The key thing for him is that the Tigers haven’t given up on him. And he’s been able to handle it.”

Perez had nothing but good things to say about fellow Venezuelan Eugenio Suarez, who was promoted to Detroit on June 4.

“I felt great for him because he worked hard for the opportunity,” Perez said of Suarez. “I know I wasn’t hitting as well as he was.

“So I am working hard to hit better.”

Fans of the Tigers and Mud Hens have to like the response of the 23-year-old Perez since the Tigers called up Suarez. Perez entered Saturday’s game on a six-game hitting streak, during which he hit .538 with a home run, six RBIs and six runs scored.

“I’ve been working on my strike-zone [recognition] so that I am swinging at good pitches,” Perez said. “When you swing at good pitches, good things happen.”

What has been most impressive is that Perez has shown extra-base pop during this hot stretch. His 14-for-26 streak has included five doubles, a triple and a home run, and has raised his season’s numbers to .283 with three homers and 26 RBIs.

“We were trying to get him to be more aggressive in the hitting area, and to get his legs more involved in his swing,” Parrish said of Perez. “He’s been working on it all year. In April, we saw it sparingly, and in May, he was starting to get it in batting practice.

“These past two weeks, he’s brought it into the game. When he gets a pitch to hit, he’s hitting it — and he’s hitting with authority.”

Meanwhile, Perez, who played mostly second base last season, has shown significant improvement in his shortstop play over the course of this season.

“He had not played [shortstop] for a few years, and at second base you tend to let the ball come to you because you have more time,” Parrish said. “When he moved to shortstop, he had to play ‘through’ balls and cut down on the angles.

“It took some work, but he has made great strides at shortstop. At the start of the season, I didn’t know if he could play shortstop; now I think he can.”

GOOD AND BAD: The good news for former Tigers and Mud Hens outfielder Quintin Berry is that he ranks among the International League leaders with a .310 batting average and has 12 stolen bases in 54 games at Norfolk.

The bad news is that Berry made headlines for his bizarre display during a game at Syracuse on Thursday.

Berry singled in the ninth inning, but he had words with home-plate ump Tom Honec and was ejected about the time he reached first base. Instead of arguing with the umpire, Berry ran the bases and slid into home plate before bouncing up and running to the clubhouse.

The video of Berry’s exit has been making the rounds on social media.

ALL-STAR VOTE: Two Mud Hens rank among the leaders in the fan voting for the International League All-Star team.

Mike Hessman leads all IL third basemen in the fan voting, while Ezequiel Carrera is among the top three outfielders.

Fans are invited to cast their ballot. Click here to vote

Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.com, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.

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Tag(s): Pro  Mud Hens  John Wagner