New Dodgers reliever Chris Perez says injuries affected his arm slot in 2013

Chris Perez did not have an impressive 2013: his 1.43 WHIP, fuelled by the right-hander giving more than a hit per inning, was a career-worst, as was his 4.33 ERA. The former Indians closer landed with the Dodgers in the offseason and as he told Jon Weisman of, the injuries he battled in the first half of 2013 caused him to adjust his arm slot, meaning he never really got his mechanics right all season.

“Once I got healthy in the second half of the year, I went back to my normal arm slot,” he said. “But I had been pitching three of four months from different arm slots. I was in between arm slots, which is tough to do, especially in my role last year as a closer. … This year, coming in healthy, I’m back to my normal arm slot and hopefully it stays there all year.”

Perez was dealing with shoulder issues right from the start of Spring Training in 2013 and took months to fully recover, attempting to pitch through the pain before finally hitting the DL with stiffness in his rotator cuff in late May. Despite seeming to put those health issues behind him after that stint, things actually got worse for the reliever in the second half, as he gave up seven home runs and 33 hits in just 27 1/3 innings, contributing to his 5.60 ERA and 1.50 WHIP, a performance Perez obviously attributes to his mechanical issues.

The 28-year-old won't be anywhere near the closer role in 2014. Strikeout machine Kenley Jansen is firmly entrenched as the first choice in the ninth, with former Giants closer Brian Wilson lined up to be his primary set-up man. If Perez can stay healthy and put together a performance like he did in 2012, he may find a team willing to pay him to be their closer next offseason.

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