Oliver Perez was the talk of Mets camp since he put up a major stinker in his return from the World Baseball Classic. The big news is that pitching coach Dan Warthen called him out publicly as not being in proper shape to pitch. The message was misconstrued by some as Perez being overweight, but the message was that Perez didn’t keep his arm working during the three weeks he spent with team Mexico.
Yesterday he put the hammer down against the Orioles for 6.2 innings of one hit (and one walk) ball. Clearly, he got the message that the Mets coaching staff was trying to convey. Even Johan Santana spoke to Perez about improving his concentration and using the last week of spring training to get good results in the games he pitches in.
If Perez had another meltdown yesterday, it would have been time for Mets fans and the front office to have major concerns about the starting rotation. John Maine has been inconsistent this spring in his recovery from off-season shoulder surgery. And Livan Hernandez is the current fifth starter after being waived last August by the Minnesota Twins. He’s looked solid this spring but the Mets coaches need to keep a very close eye on him as the season progresses.
I don’t think that we’ll ever describe Oliver Perez as consistent. But the Mets need him to be better than he has been this spring if the Mets are going to be serious contenders to knock the Phillies from their throne.