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Rafael Pérez

Cleveland Indians — No. 53
Setup pitcher
Born: May 15, 1982 (1982-05-15) (age 27)
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Bats: Left Throws: Left 
MLB debut
April 20, 2006 for the Cleveland Indians
Career statistics
(through 2009 season)
Win-Loss     6-8
Earned run average     3.83
Strikeouts     177

Rafael Jerome Pérez (born March 15, 1982) is a left-handed relief pitcher for the Cleveland Indians in Major League Baseball. He was signed by the Indians as an undrafted free agent in January 2002.

Minor league career

In 2002, Pérez finished second in the Dominican Summer League with a 0.96 ERA. In 2003, he was named Appalachian League Pitcher of the Year playing for the Single-A Burlington Indians and led the Appalachian League in wins (9-3) and ERA (1.70).In 2005, his 12 wins tied for 3rd in Indians organization and he had a 2.62 ERA in 29 combined appearances (22 starts) for Kinston and Akron. He was added to the Indians 40-man roster in November. In 2006, Pérez had a 2.81 ERA in 12 starts with Akron and a 2.63 ERA in 13 relief appearances with Triple-A Buffalo.

Major league career

He made his major League debut on April 20, 2006, against Baltimore, pitching one inning and striking out two.

Pérez was not expected to be a major part of the Indians' major league club in 2007, but he surprised the Indians organization after he was called up from the team's Triple-A affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons, on May 28. Pérez was initially slated for long relief, but after he demonstrated his ability to pitch in tight situations, he was inserted into a setup role alongside right-handed reliever Rafael Betancourt. The two setup men have been nicknamed Rafey Left and Rafey Right by local Indians fans. Pérez, with his hard fastball and tight slider, quickly became one of the most dominant relievers in the league. In 2007, Pérez posted a sparkling 1.78 ERA, over 60 2/3 innings pitched in 44 appearances. He had a WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched) of only .923, and has held left-handed batters to just a .145 batting average. ESPN analyst Peter Gammons called him "arguably the best left-handed reliever on the planet." His most dazzling statistic, however, may be the fact that in his slightly less than three years in the big leagues, he has allowed just four extra base hits to left-handed batters and has held those batters to a .241 slugging percentage.

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