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Perez looks to the Futures

July 11, 2010|By BOB PARASILITI
  • Hagerstown outfielder Eury Perez will play for the World team in today's Major League Baseball Futures Game, part of the All-Star Game celebration in Anaheim, Calif.
Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

Eury Perez has a reputation.

In some circles, that's not a good sign. But in baseball, it means everything.

Perez's 2009 season became his business card as the Hagerstown Suns outfielder was selected to play for the World Team in Major League Baseball's Futures Game today in Anaheim, Calif., as part of the kickoff to the All-Star break.

Perez has had success as the Suns' center fielder this season, but the 20-year-old got everyone's attention by dominating the Gulf Coast League last year.

"I showed what I could do with the year I had last year," Perez said through the translation of Suns catcher Adrian Nieto. "I showed flashes last year and proved I could play. It all preceded my game this year."

Perez signed with the Nationals as a free agent in 2007 at age 16. He broke through by leading the GCL with a .381 batting average for the GCL Nationals to win the league hitting title by nearly 50 points. He added three home runs and 16 stolen bases to help lead the Nationals to the GCL championship.

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Perez, a Dominican Republic native, is batting .257 with two home runs and 24 RBIs. He has stolen 28 bases in 35 tries this season for the Suns.

"This is a great honor for Eury," said Suns manager Matt LeCroy. "Being picked and having a chance to play in a big stadium is great for a young prospect. He came up big last season. He works hard and he has the ability."

Perez is one of two Washington players selected to play in the game that features up-and-coming minor league prospects, featuring foreign born and American players divided into a World and a United States team. Shortstop Danny Espinosa, who plays for Double-A Harrisburg, will play for the U.S. as the Nationals' other representative.

"I was surprised I got picked," Perez said. "I feel lucky to be picked to represent the Nationals and my country."

Perez is one of a stable of three 20-year-old outfielders who have played well for the Suns this season. Perez has been joined by Destin Hood and J.P. Ramirez as a group of promising players for the Nationals organization.

But Perez got the call and plans to make the most of his opportunity.

"I want to get out there and do what I can," Perez said. "If I get on by a bunt single or I homer, it doesn't matter. Whatever happens, happens. I just want to make the most of the experience."

Perez will make the farthest trip of his lifetime, heading to California for the game. He will be playing on the biggest stadium before the largest crowd he has ever experienced. He will also be playing against older players who are further up the minor league chain.

But it doesn't matter.

"I'm not worried about the surroundings," he said. "It will be on the same playing surface that I'm used to playing on."

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