DETROIT -- A year ago at this point, Ryan Perry was still adjusting to life as a Major Leaguer, having just made the club out of Spring Training. On Saturday, Perry earned his first Major League save, with Jose Valverde and Joel Zumaya off for the day.
That's a sign of how far the 23-year-old has progressed in a year of big league ball. A big part of that progression, manager Jim Leyland suggested, was simply being ready.
"I think the one thing that he has learned in the process of last year," Leyland said, "is that you have to come here every day possibly ready to pitch, and effectively. I think it surprised him last year when I used him maybe a couple times in a row or something like that, and I think there's a knack for learning how to handle the whole overall professional baseball thing, keeping yourself [ready] on an everyday basis, coming here ready to go. That's not always easy."
It's an adjustment sometimes for pitchers who were standouts in college, even out of the bullpen. Once Perry made the big club out of camp last year, he was thrown fully into the mix. He pitched on back-to-back days six times last year. Those six outings without rest, though, were kept short, totaling 5 1/3 innings with two runs allowed on six hits. His best numbers, not surprisingly, came after two days of rest.
Perry said he learned from the experience over the course of the season.
"I just feel my daily routines now are far greater than what they were last year," Perry said. "My body's been feeling good ever since the beginning of Spring Training. Last year, coming into the season, kind of a little dead arm here and there, a little stiffness, but ever since the beginning of spring training, I've been feeling really good, just daily work habits."