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Ollie introduced to pen pals


Ollie introduced to pen pals
ATLANTA - The Mets took a risk when they handed the erratic Oliver Perez a three-year, $36 million deal last winter. But they never could have imagined just how bad it could blow up on them.

Just five starts into his new deal Perez was demoted to the bullpen Monday, putting an official stamp on what has seemed inevitable since spring training. With a 9.97 ERA and a loss of control and confidence, the Mets have pulled him from the rotation and hope that somewhere, somehow, something clicks in for Perez.

"He'll be in the bullpen until we rebuild him, get him back right," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. "I kind of felt that way before his last start; it's something that I've done before with starters. Jon Garland, [James] Baldwin, those guys. You have three or four bad outings, you try to find a spot that you could get him back and get some confidence. Have some success first, then [gain] confidence and then go from there."

Forty-year-old rookie Ken Takahashi will get the start in Perez's place ? with Manuel speculating that it won't be a short-term move. No matter how Manuel and the Mets tried to sugarcoat the situation, it is a disaster. Perez was being counted on as the No. 3 starter ? a 15-game winner two years ago. By comparison, Garland, who was in his first full season in the majors, and Baldwin, who was in his third full season, were relocated to the pen when Manuel was manager of the White Sox.

This hardly seems like a perfect solution for the Mets , and maybe not even for Perez. He said Saturday that he would accept a move to the minors if the Mets asked, but backed off that Sunday. By Monday, the Mets said they had never discussed it with Perez and had not been in contact with his agent, Scott Boras. The Mets need Perez's permission to make that move because he has more than five years of service in the majors.

Mets GM Omar Minaya, after meeting with Manuel and pitching coach Dan Warthen, said he would not rule out the possibility of a minor league assignment in the future, but for now was hopeful this would work.

"Let's get him in the pen first and see where it goes from there," Minaya said. "I feel pretty good Ollie is going to turn it around. These things happen. He's working hard, trying to do the best that he can to get back. He has the support of the organization, support of the players. It's a course of action that I think will get him back on the right track."

E-mail: popper@northjersey.com


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 6, 2009

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