Martin Perez wants to improve with 2 outs

GRAPEVINE, Texas -- Martin Perez knows there are a lot of expectations for him after he cemented his spot in the rotation with his performance in 2013.

And Perez is just fine with that.

“I like when I’ve got a lot of expectations because I think everyone is looking to me and it means I’m doing better,” Perez said. “I don’t have pressure now. I have more experience and (I) just have to work hard and do my job.”

Perez was 10-6 with a 3.62 ERA after joining the rotation for good in June. He ended up with 124 innings (20 starts) and earned himself a contract extension this offseason.

One thing he wants to improve upon: Throwing “more strikes after two outs.”

Finishing innings and avoiding trouble with two outs was something Perez struggled with at times in 2013 and is a mental focus for him this offseason. Opponents had a .294 average against Perez with runners in scoring position and two outs last season.

Perez, who turns 23 shortly after the season begins, said he has already started throwing bullpens and has had no issues with his forearm or wrist. Perez was the leading candidate to earn a rotation spot in spring training before he sustained a fractured forearm on a line drive.

Perez said he’s also focused on getting more out of his curve ball, a pitch he wants to utilize more in 2014.

“I need to make my pitches and throw strikes,” Perez said. “I want to give my team a chance to win.”