Neifi Perez, whose second suspension for violating Major League Baseball's drug policy will carry into next season, is officially a free agent. The former Tigers utility infielder filed on Tuesday.
The 34-year-old Perez batted .172 with one home run and six RBIs in 64 at-bats before a series of positive tests for a banned stimulant ended his 2007 season. He first received a 25-game suspension on July 6. Then, just as that suspension was about to expire, he was handed an 80-game suspension on Aug. 3 for another positive test, his third under the program.
Under terms of the collective bargaining agreement, a player cannot be suspended more than twice for positive tests resulting from the same incident of using a banned substance. Under those rules, then, Perez tested positive three times for three different occurrences. Another positive test result would lead to an indefinite suspension, and he would have to petition the Commissioner to be allowed back into the sport.
Thus ended what was a disappointing yearlong tenure for Perez, who brought a steady glove to fill in a shortstop when Detroit acquired him from the Cubs. The Tigers have exclusive negotiating rights until Monday, Nov. 12, but they're not expected to invite him back to the organization. They currently have Ryan Raburn, Ramon Santiago and Omar Infante for utility infield duty.
The one remaining eligible free agent for the Tigers who has yet to file is Kenny Rogers. He is still pondering whether to come back for a 20th Major League season or retire. He hopes to make a decision sometime in November.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.