Blake Perry’s new job won’t even last three weeks, but he was glad to get it just the same.
Perry was promoted to the Yakima Bears for the last three weeks of his first full season in professional baseball, giving the Boyle County graduate a taste of what the game is like at a slightly higher level.
The Arizona Diamondbacks moved him nine days ago from their Arizona League affiliate to the Northwest League, a short-season league that is one notch up on the minor-league ladder.
“It’s just a whole different level, but nothing I don’t think I can’t handle,” Perry said.
Perry won’t have time to put down roots in Yakima, Wash., because the Bears’ season ends Saturday. He has only one more scheduled start, which is Tuesday against Eugene.
He got one start under his belt Wednesday at Everett, giving up three runs in the first inning but only one in the next three. He allowed a total of four runs on six hits and three walks with six strikeouts and got a no-decision after Yakima rallied, and he said he hopes to learn from that outing in his next one.
“I started (Wednesday) and had a good time,” Perry said. “I got the first-inning jitters out of the way and threw three pretty good innings and ended up winning. I’m hoping to go up Tuesday and learn from my first start and just go out there and keep doing what I can do.”
Yakima moved into a tie for first place in its division on Saturday, and the Bears will make the playoffs if they can win the second-half division race, which might well mean at least one more start for Perry. If not, he’ll be headed home to Danville next week.
He’ll get less than two weeks off before returning to the Diamondbacks’ spring training complex outside Scottsdale, Ariz., for the fall instructional league, which lasts about a month.
“I’m looking forward to coming back home, seeing my friends and family and taking it easy for couple days. I think I deserve that from being gone since February,” he said.
The instructional league lasts until mid-October, and Perry said he’s hoping it will be a springboard that will give him momentum going into spring training next year.
“A lot of guys’ careers have really jumped if you perform well in instructional league,” he said.
Perry, a sixth-round draft choice by the Diamondbacks in 2010, will have thrown less than 80 innings by the time the minor league season ends next week and will likely have no more than 100 innings in by the end of instructional league.
“They want to build me up so I can just keep adding on (innings each year),”¿he said.
Perry threw 63 of those innings in the Arizona League, where he lost his first five decisions and left with a 1-5 record and a 5.00 earned-run average.
“From start one in the Arizona Summer League to the last one, I felt like I made a lot of improvements,” he said. “I had four or five really good starts in a row, and I finally got my first pro win.”
That came on Aug. 19, when he allowed one earned run on five hits and one walk over eight innings.
The next day, Perry was called in to meet with his pitching coach and manager after a game.
“They said, ‘We’ve gotten a call and you’re going to Yakima.’ They gave me the rest of the day to pack and get my stuff together, and I flew out the next morning,” he said.
Perry said he found a slightly different game in Yakima than he was playing in Arizona, where higher altitude helped the hitters but the hitters weren’t as polished.
“The ball doesn’t travel quite as well as it does in Arizona. But the hitters, they don’t chase bad pitches any more. Well, they do, but not as often. They’re better prepared.”