Mets' Perez getting back on track

Updated: June 18, 2009, 2:59 PM ET
Associated Press

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- New York Mets left-hander Oliver Perez is getting back on track.

Perez, on the disabled list since May 7, threw 48 pitches in three shutout innings of an extended spring training game Thursday at the Mets' rehab facility. He gave up three hits and one walk, and struck out five in the pain-free performance that came after a recent setback.

"I felt really good," said Perez, whose fastball was clocked in the low 90s. "I'm a little tired because it's hot, but I feel strong. I threw three innings, and I was using all my pitches. I used my slider, backdoor, in good situations, behind the count, my change-up, too.

"I'm happy I had good command, and I was throwing a lot of strikes."

Perez went 1-2 with a 9.97 ERA in five starts with New York before going on the disabled list. He had just begun a minor league rehab stint with Triple-A Buffalo on May 26 when he awkwardly stumbled off the mound while fielding a grounder, forcing him back to Port St. Lucie, where he had spent almost three weeks rehabbing.

Perez had been struggling since spring training when he admitted he was behind in building arm strength because of long layoffs during his time with Team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. He said his arm is now strong, and he just needs to get the rest of his body to catch up.

"I have to continue getting stronger with my knee because my arm is good," Perez said. "I am starting to get stronger because right now I can do more workouts with my legs, and I am happy for that. I have to go and show I can be the pitcher I can be. My arm is really strong. I just have to keep working to get more consistent with my body and get ready for the season."

Rehab coordinator Guy Conti said Perez is now on a five-day cycle. He will pitch again Tuesday, though it is uncertain whether that will come in another extended spring training game or in a minor league appearance.

"His knee is really strong," Conti said. "He's in good shape. His velocity is coming back, and I'm happy with how he's progressing."

Mets right-hander John Maine, on the DL due to discomfort in the back of his throwing shoulder, threw off a mound Thursday for the first time since June 6 in Washington. He threw 60 pitches in a simulated game, but didn't face batters until the final 30 pitches.

"We just wanted to test his health," Conti said. "He was rusty, but other than that, I was pleased."

Conti said Maine could still feel a pinch in his shoulder, but it wasn't painful like it had been.

Notes

Outfielder Angel Pagan, who is nursing a right groin strain, could be back in New York within 10-to-12 days, Conti said. ... Left-handed reliever Billy Wagner is throwing three side sessions a week and could face hitters by the first week in July.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press