Perez Beginning to Show He Belongs on First : Baseball: Former outfielder hits a two-run home run early in the Angels' 10-inning loss to Cleveland.


Angel first baseman Eduardo Perez has dropped the hints here and there, trying to justify his spot in the starting lineup and J.T. Snow's mailing address in Vancouver, Canada.

Wednesday night, he dropped one of those hints over the left-center field fence.

His two-run home run might have hid in the shadows of teammate Bo Jackson's three-run shot in the ninth inning of the Angels' 6-5 loss to Cleveland in 10 innings Wednesday at Anaheim Stadium.

But it was an important early-season signpost for Perez, who's struggling to show he should be the Angels' first baseman of the present . . . and future.

Perez was slated to start in left field this season, but his slow recovery from right elbow surgery in October convinced Angel Manager Buck Rodgers to move him to first base in place of Snow. Rodgers wanted Perez to get at least 500 at-bats this season, a difficult task for an outfielder with a sore throwing elbow.

Moving Perez left Rodgers with one first baseman too many.

Desperate for starting pitching, the Angels shopped Snow around the league and were close to trading him to the New York Mets for starter Anthony Young. The deal fell through, and Snow, a former Los Alamitos High standout, is at the team's triple-A team in Vancouver.

"We believe that J.T. can be a solid first baseman in this league," Rodgers said. "But we believe Perez can be a real impact player."

Perez didn't do much to prove Rodgers right in the first week of the season. He was batting only .148 after Monday's home opener, but after two doubles Tuesday night and his two-run homer Wednesday night, things appear to be coming around for him.

In the second inning, he hit Charles Nagy's 1-0 pitch over the left-center field fence, driving in Chili Davis, who had singled, and giving the Angels a 2-0 lead.

After grounding to third in the fifth, he broke up a double play in the seventh, beating second baseman Carlos Baerga's throw to first. Cleveland Manager Mike Hargrove argued that Perez was out, and was ejected.

Jackson's three-run homer in the ninth tied it, 5-5, but Perez, the next batter, flied out to right.

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