PORT ST. LUCIE, FLA. (AP) - The New York Mets released pitcher Oliver Perez on Monday, two days after the left-hander allowed consecutive home runs to minor leaguers.
The Mets chose to absorb the $12 million remaining on Perez’s $36 million, three-year contract rather than keep a pitcher who has been ineffective in trying to make the team as a reliever.
Perez’s release came three days after the team cut second baseman Luis Castillo, who was signed Monday by the rival Philadelphia Phillies.
In other news, reliever Jason Isringhausen has inflammation in his pitching elbow that could hinder his comeback attempt with the Mets.
Perez had a spring training ERA of 8.38 in 9 2-3 innings.
“I think it was additional evidence that from his standpoint the velocity was not there, the command was not there,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said, referring to Saturday’s outing. “It wasn’t going to work in a starting role. It didn’t appear as if it were going to work in a relief role, at least any time soon. We are getting down toward the end of spring training so we felt it was time to make a decision.”
Perez said he wasn’t surprised by the decision when he was called into a meeting with Alderson and manager Terry Collins.
“When they told me, I almost knew they were going to tell me,” Perez said. “It’s one of those times I don’t feel great, but I’m not going to quit. I think I’ve got more (to my) career, and I’m going to hope (for) the best.”
The pitcher’s effectiveness slowly diminished after a 15-win 2007 season, and his velocity has been down since undergoing right knee surgery in 2009. Perez was 1-6 in seven starts to begin last season before being moved to the bullpen. He went on the disabled list with patella tendinitis in his right knee on June 5 and made just six appearances the rest of the season.
The 38-year-old Isringhausen, in camp on a minor league contract, was given an oral anti-inflammatory medication Sunday and was out of action Monday. He is expected to return to workouts Tuesday.
The right-hander has had Tommy John surgery on his elbow three times during his 14-year career, and the current problem could jeopardize his chances of breaking camp with the team.
“First of all, we don’t think this is that serious,” general manager Sandy Alderson said. “But, probably more than the salary is the impact it has on our decision on other players. Obviously it’s a 162-game season, and so you have to think not about a 25-man roster, but realistically you have to think about 30-35 over the course of a season.”
Isringhausen, a two-time All-Star who made his major league debut with the Mets in 1995, has been impressive in six spring outings. He is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA and three strikeouts in six innings, allowing two hits and three walks.
However, his history of injuries also is a concern.
“I think it’s a factor,” Alderson said. “We have to take into account whether it turns out to be something. We will know in the next few days, but right now we don’t think it is.”
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