Juan Perez, Tomo Ohka reassigned to minor league camp


Feb 24, 2014; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Juan Perez throws live batting practice at Bobby Mattick Training Centre. Credit Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY

The Toronto Blue Jays announced on Sunday that lefty reliever Juan Perez and converted knuckleball pitcher Tomo Ohka have been reassigned to minor league camp.

Neither player had made an appearance since the Blue Jays’ spring training schedule opened last week. With so many other players competing for the fifth starter’s spot and/or a bullpen role, both Perez and Ohka have found themselves on the outside looking in at not just a shot at the big league roster but any playing time whatsoever. The move leaves the Blue Jays with 58 players still at camp according to Scott MacArthur of TSN.

Perez was solid for the Jays in 2013 and pitched to a 3.69 ERA in 31.2 innings with a 2.2 K/BB ratio. However he suffered an unfortunate elbow in August, which led to the Blue Jays releasing him then resigning him to a minor league deal in November. According to Gregor Chisholm of BlueJays.com, Perez chose to bypass Tommy John surgery so that he could compete for a job this spring rather than miss his age 35 season. He was good last year but I have no idea how he’s been throwing since the injury.

Feb 24, 2014; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Tomo Ohka (55) throws during practice at Bobby Mattick Training Center . Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Ohka still holds the title of last free agent starting pitcher signed by the Toronto Blue Jays to a major league contract… and that was back in 2007. He’s been pitching in Japan since 2010 and is attempting a North American baseball comeback as a knuckleballer, which he started learning after shoulder surgery in 2011. Hopefully he had some time to pick up a few tips from the Jedi Master R.A. Dickey before he was sent packing for the Blue Jays’ minor league complex, which is 10 km away from where the big league club plays.