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Mets mull what to do with Perez

Mets mull what to do with Perez
Phillies 6

Mets 5 (10)

Oliver Perez looks like he has pitched himself out of the rotation. Now, does he head to the bullpen or to the minors?

"We're just going to sit down and talk about it and see how we get him back on track. Everything, of course, is going to be on the table," GM Omar Minaya said after Perez walked six and lasted only 2 1/3 innings in the Mets' 6-5, 10-inning loss to the Phillies yesterday. "... We know he's better than that. And I think he knows he's better than that. Eventually the Oliver Perez that we've seen is going to show up, but it's not there right now."

Said Perez: "I feel embarrassed. I don't do anything for my team."

A half-inning after Carlos Beltran grounded into an inning-ending double play with Alex Cora at third base in the 10th, Sean Green walked Shane Victorino with the count full and bases loaded to force in the winning run. Green (0-2) hit a batter and issued two walks in the inning. "I tried to throw a good, low strike, and I missed low," Green said.

Still, it was Perez who dominated the postgame dialogue. Manager Jerry Manuel cited "improvement" as the barometer for whether Perez would remain in the rotation. But by yesterday's performance, it seems Perez does not merit another start Thursday against the Phillies in Flushing. He issued four walks in the third inning, the final to 46-year-old opposing pitcher Jamie Moyer. He also regularly hit 90 mph with his fastball, 5 mph off the peak of previous seasons.

Perez would need to consent to a minor-league assignment since he has five years' service time. He also would need to clear revocable waivers, although that's typically a non-issue because Perez could be pulled back by the Mets if he were claimed. Or, in a farfetched scenario, the Mets could let the claiming team have Perez to rid themselves of the three-year, $36 million commitment.

"If I need it, I have to go, because right now I don't help my team and I feel disappointed," Perez said.

The other scenario is the bullpen.

"It could be a thing where we might have to find the best matchups in a short period to get success, to build confidence," Manuel said. "You can go to the bullpen and fight your way out of there. I have to be honest with you, I haven't made a decision. But all those things are things we're going to discuss."

Who would take the rotation spot isn't a no-brainer. Ken Takahashi pitched 2 2/3 scoreless relief innings, but he logged no more than 3 2/3 innings in any minor-league appearance before his promotion, making that a stretch.

Tim Redding is penciled in for a start Tuesday with Triple-A Buffalo before being activated from the DL, but he's logged enough innings in extended spring training outings, albeit against low-grade competition, to step in.

Using a left-hander against the Phillies would be logical, but Jon Niese had an 8.44 ERA until limiting Triple-A Louisville to one run in six innings Friday. Nelson Figueroa allowed only one run in seven innings Wednesday for Buffalo. Prospect Dillon Gee (4.33 ERA), a spring-training favorite of Manuel, limited Louisville to one run in seven innings Wednesday.

Perez allowed one run in 26 innings against the Phillies in 2008. Two batters into yesterday's game, Philadelphia matched that output. Victorino opened the Phillies' first with a triple. Raul Ibanez followed with a sacrifice fly. Perez was charged with four runs. His ERA swelled to 9.97.

The damage could have been worse. He turned over the bases loaded to Takahashi, a Japanese left-hander, after walking Moyer. Victorino, the first batter the 40-year-old rookie faced in the majors, lined the first pitch right back at Takahashi, leaving a red mark on his chest. Takahashi recovered the Baseball, threw to the plate for a forceout, which became an inning-ending double play.

The Mets took a 5-4 lead with a three-run sixth. Daniel Murphy and Ramon Castro had consecutive solo homers, and Luis Castillo singled off Scott Eyre to score Cora, who had tripled to chase Moyer. Pedro Feliciano surrendered a solo homer to Ibanez the following half-inning, tying the score at 5.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 4, 2009

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