Perez strong outside of homer in Rangers' loss
Left-hander allows two-run shot in first inning; offense held to six hits
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers pitching prospect Zach Lee said the phone calls and texts from family and friends back home in Texas started on Thursday night and continued through Friday morning.
The news the pitcher was making his Cactus League debut against the Texas Rangers, the team many of his loved ones cheer for each summer, spread quickly, and he had the texts to prove it.
"A lot of them said they were conflicted," said Lee, who is from outside of Dallas in McKinney, Texas.
But the truth is neither Lee nor Rangers fans that followed Friday's matchup should be too disappointed.
The young right-hander gave up two hits in two scoreless innings, and Rangers starter Martin Perez also shined in the Dodgers' 2-1 win at Camelback Ranch.
Lee, the club's first-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, struck out one batter. Perez was charged with two runs on two hits in three innings. He walked three batters and struck out two.
"I feel pretty good. I still need to attack more with my fastball," Perez said. "My other pitches are good. The only thing I have to work on is my fastball. A couple of hitters, I was behind in the count."
Lee faced only eight batters. The 2013 Branch Rickey Minor League Pitcher of the Year has been dealing with a lat muscle strain.
"I felt fine going out there and my arm felt good," Lee said. "I didn't know how many innings I was going to go from the get-go, so it was one of those things where I was going to keep going until they took me out. I was preparing myself for the third inning."
Despite the sore lat, Lee said he's enjoying his first big league camp. He has been spending as much time as he can with Zack Greinke and Josh Beckett.
"I think I'm somewhat like [Greinke], although I don't think I take it to the extent that he does," Lee said. "Growing up, and the way I looked at pitching, I was always a cerebral and analytical person. I really thought more about game-planning and what [Greg] Maddux did back in the day, where he was able to pinpoint with location rather than overpower you."
Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run home run to center field in the first inning off Perez to give the home team a 2-0 lead. Josh Wilson scored the first run for the Rangers in the seventh inning to cut the lead to 2-1.
The Rangers would not come any closer. Lee, on the other hand, continues to make strides.
"I think it's one of those things where I will keep working and continue to get better, and we'll see where it goes," Lee said. "At this moment, I feel like if I continue to throw the ball well like I am capable of, I don't think I'm that far away."
Up next: Prince Fielder will be back in the lineup at 2:05 p.m. CT on Saturday when the Rangers host the Dodgers in Surprise (listen on Gameday Audio). Fielder, who had the day off on Friday, is 6-for-15 with one home run this spring. Tanner Scheppers will be on the mound against left-hander Paul Maholm for the Dodgers. Robbie Ross is also scheduled to pitch for the Rangers.