Juan Perez, who emerged as a surprise contributor in the Toronto Blue Jays’ bullpen this past season, will remain in the organization after losing his place on the 40-man roster.
The left-hander signed a minor league contract with the Blue Jays after being outrighted off of the 40-man roster, according to the team. He has been invited to spring training 2014.
Perez pitched effectively for the Blue Jays in 2013, posting a 3.69 ERA with 33 strikeouts and 15 walks in 31.2 innings. However, he missed the final two months of the season after tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow August 9. Though the injury often precedes Tommy John surgery, Perez decided to rehab his elbow instead of undergoing surgery.
“He’s a warrior,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said at the time. “He’s a great competitor and he’s done a great job for us.”
The 35-year-old veteran of 14 minor-league seasons also has experience with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies. The Blue Jays can still re-sign him as a free agent.
Andy LaRoche and Mike Nickeas have also been invited to spring training on non-roster deals. LaRoche and Nickeas each played in one game for the 2013 Blue Jays and spent the majority of the year at triple-A.