- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 9, 2011

PORT ST. LUCIE, FLA. (AP) - Oliver Perez appears headed to the New York Mets bullpen, perhaps his last chance to stick with the team.

The left-hander allowed his first four batters to reach Tuesday against Houston, his final chance to show he deserves a spot in the starting rotation. In all, Perez gave up three runs, four hits and two walks in three innings.

Owed $12 million in the final season of his contract, Perez is 1-1 with a 9.00 ERA and five walks over seven innings in spring training. His fastball topped out at 88 mph.

General manager Sandy Alderson said a decision on whether to send him to the bullpen would be made later Wednesday.

“There were improvements in certain areas and some encouraging signs,” Alderson said. “To some extent, we’re result based, and that’s not necessarily the linescore but velocity and various other things, location. So, I like to take that into account.”

Perez was 1-6 with a 5.94 ERA in seven starts to begin the 2010 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.

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