Martin Perez was attracted to the Boston Red Sox prior to the 2020 season in part because of manager Alex Cora.
Now, the left-handed starting pitcher will finally have the opportunity to play for the Red Sox skipper. Boston on Friday officially announced the signing of Perez to a one-year contract with a 2022 team option.
It seems the two are happy to have the chance to work together as the Red Sox prepare for a rebound season in 2021.
“Now I’m back and to have him as manager is going to be special for me and I feel that he’s going to help me a lot,” Perez told reporters Friday during a video conference.
“We’ve been talking a lot and when he saw the tweet that you guys put, he texted me, ‘Hey Martin, I’m happy to have you back and let’s do this.’ And I just texted him back, ‘Hey, let’s do this, we don’t have an excuse.’ So, that’s what I think.”
Perez started 12 games during the pandemic-shortened season in 2020. It was more than any other Red Sox pitcher in large part because both Chris Sale (Tommy John) and Eduardo Rodriguez (myocarditis) did not make play. Fellow starter Nate Eovaldi missed time, as well, forcing Perez into a high-end role.
Perez now believes Cora will be able to help the group bounce back.
“I think he’s a champion, and he’s going to train us to be a champion,” Perez said of Cora. “We maybe don’t have big names that the Red Sox had in 2018, but if we play hard and we play with the heart and we enjoy what we do and we have fun every night, we’re gonna do good things. But the only thing that I can say is he is a champion.”
The Red Sox choose not to pick up Perez’s option in November. Perez admitted at the time he was disappointed, and while both the Chicago White Sox and Tampa Bay Rays pursued him, he hoped he would land back with Boston.
“I told my agent, I want to wait because I know they’re trying to make a lot of moves and I want to wait because all offseason, my mind was on Boston, my heart, too,” Perez said.
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