Oliver Perez denied this morning that he is out of shape, only a little behind after making only two starts in the span of 19 days for Team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. Pitching coach Dan Warthen made the claim that Perez had put on weight during his absence, but Perez bristled at the allegations by his locker.
“If you want to run with me, we can run,” Perez said. “I feel good. Maybe we were working different in the Classic. We didn’t do [pitchers fielding practice] and all the exercises we do here, but I feel good.”
Maybe so, but Perez didn’t look that great Wednesday against the Tigers. He threw 92 pitches as he failed to make it out of the fourth inning. Detroit battered him for five hits and six runs, including a three-run homer by Placido Polanco. Perez also had six walks.
“I’m a little behind,” Perez said. “But I have to more games and I have to be ready.”
Now the Mets have less than two weeks to undo the damage from his leisurely time spent with Team Mexico. Perez had a 9.45 ERA in two starts for Mexico, and threw a staggering 85 pitches in the second one, when he allowed three homers to South Korea.
Even Perez, who signed a three-year, $36 million contract this winter, admitted that he could have done more to be ready if he stayed in Port St. Lucie rather than participate in the WBC.
“Oh yeah,” Peres said, “because I just throw like six innings in 19 days. If I was here, I’d throw more than 10 innings. That’s why in spring training, you need to get ready to have all your pitches.”