Manuel deciding fate of Mets' Perez

Updated: May 3, 2009, 4:33 PM ET
Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA -- Oliver Perez earned a no-decision about his spot in the Mets' rotation.

Mets manager Jerry Manuel is still deciding what to do with Perez, who has been a bust only months after signing a $36 million, three-year contract. Perez had his latest outing on Saturday, lasting 2 1/3 innings against Philadelphia on Saturday, and is 1-2 with a 9.97 ERA in five starts this season.

Manuel believes Perez's confidence is shot.

Perez
Perez

Manuel, thought, wasn't ready to admit on Sunday he would skip Perez from his next scheduled start. The Mets could demote Perez to the minor leagues and have him work out his problems there, or place him on the 15-day disabled list.

Perez and Manuel spoke in a closed-door meeting before Sunday's game against the Phillies was rained out. Manuel appeared like a manager leaning toward skipping Perez when asked the advantageous would be of giving the lefty another turn.

"I don't know at this point whether or not that's advantageous for us or for him," Manuel said. "He's just struggling at this point."

No makeup date for the rainout was announced, but the postponement gives Manuel some extra time to decide. He would consider using Perez out of the bullpen in long relief starting with the day he would usually get in his side work.

"We're trying to find the old Ollie," Manuel said.

Perez, who won 25 games for the Mets the last two seasons, said he would accept a demotion after Saturday's performance, but spoke out of frustration and appeared to reverse course a day later. He has more than five years of service time so he could refuse the assignment.

Perez said he has been bothered by a sore right knee, raising the possibility of a stint on the DL. A move to the disabled list could also cushion the blow of a return to the minors by sending him there officially for rehab starts instead of performance-related issues.

"The knee's been bothering me for the whole season," Perez said. "I try to pitch with that. I try to help my team and I don't do that right now."

Sunday's rainout pushed back the rotations. Joe Blanton (0-2) will pitch for the Phillies on Monday at St. Louis. John Maine (1-2) gets the start for the Mets against the Braves on Monday.

Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said Cole Hamels will likely be bumped from his start Tuesday and pitch Friday against the Braves. Hamels tested his injured left ankle in the bullpen on Saturday.

"Tomorrow we'll get him on his legs hopefully, move him around a little bit and see where he's at," Dubee said.

Dubee said the Phillies haven't discussed yanking struggling starter Chan Ho Park (0-1, 8.57 ERA) from the rotation.

The Mets are undecided about Friday's starter. Manuel expected to name one during the Atlanta series.

"We don't have to make a decision at this point, that's the biggest thing," Manuel said. "When you don't have to make one, you don't rush to make one."

One possibility could be 40-year-old rookie Ken Takahashi. He tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings in his major league debut on Saturday in the Phillies' 6-5 win.

Manuel called Takahashi a "very impressive" find for the Mets. So impressive that Manuel would even consider using Takahashi for a turn in the rotation, albeit for only about 65 to 70 pitches.

The extra day off could help slugging first baseman Carlos Delgado. Delgado (hip) was in the lineup card and appeared ready to start. He hurt his right hip when he slid on a triple on April 26 and hadn't started since that game.

Delgado walked as a pinch-hitter in his only plate appearance on Saturday. Delgado said he was told there would be no significant damage to his hip if he played through the injury.

Delgado conceded the injury is likely to linger throughout the season.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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