In news that comes as no surprise -- but at the same time relief -- to New York Mets fans, the organization has decided internally that Oliver Perez will not pitch in the starting rotation this season, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
Perez was given a promise by Terry Collins that he would have a legitimate shot at claiming a starting pitchers' spot this spring training and even after throwing two scoreless, two-hit innings today, he will no longer be considered anymore. Perez had an abomination of a first spring training start in which he allowed four runs, four hits, three walks and fanned three in two innings and it was thought then that his opportunity to be one of the top-five starters was gone.
Collins decided to swap Perez (expected to relieve initially) with Chris Capuano in today's start against the Cardinals and despite throwing strikes, reports say that Perez only topped out in the mid-80s with his fastball and all his start did today was prevent an immediate release.
Martino's source, who is familiar with the team's thinking, says, "There's no way he's starting for this team," but he reports that Perez will be kept on the roster -- for now. The team remains very likely to eat the $12 million remaining on his salary and cut him before the regular season begins.
Collins was his typical upbeat self after Perez' performance today, but really there's probably only weeks -- if not days -- before Perez is released.