Mets starting pitcher Oliver Perez throws in the top of...

Mets starting pitcher Oliver Perez throws in the top of the fourth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field. The Giants won, 6-5. (May 9, 2010) Credit: Christopher Pasatieri

MIAMI - There's Bad Ollie and Good Ollie, Hot Ollie and Cold Ollie, Windy Ollie and Calm Ollie. But regardless of which Oliver Perez shows up Friday night at Sun Life Stadium, where the first-pitch temperature is supposed to be a favorable 84 degrees, Jerry Manuel insists he's not prepared to pull him from the rotation yet.

"I won't say that, not at this point," Manuel said before the Mets' 2-1 loss to the Marlins in last night's series opener. "I think it's a little early for that. It would have to be something, you know, kind of off the charts that we see. I won't say that right now."

The unpredictable Perez is fully capable of changing his manager's mind, however, so even that tepid vote of confidence easily could disappear if he were to implode early. Perez threw 98 pitches and walked seven in 31/3 innings Sunday but still kept the Giants within 2-0 upon his departure.

Maybe Manuel is banking on a couple of factors that should be in Perez's favor. In addition to the tropical climate, Perez has not lost in his last six starts against the Marlins and is 6-3 with a 4.00 ERA in 16 starts overall. He also is 4-1 with a 3.15 ERA in seven career starts in Miami. Perez has not pitched in the Marlins' home since 2008, when he was 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA in three starts there. "I think it will make a difference with some of the command issues," Manuel said.

Should Perez falter again, and should Manuel lose faith, he would have a ready-made replacement in Hisanori Takahashi if he chose to merely swap their spots on the staff.

Moving Perez to the bullpen seems like the most probable landing place. He cannot be sent down without his approval - and Manuel does not seem as averse to putting him in the bullpen as he was while discussing the matter on Sunday.

"The bullpen can be used in a number of different ways," Manuel said. "Sometimes it gives you a little less responsibility and sometimes people respond to that just to get something right - to get some confidence or have some success, then you build from that.."

Reyes staying at No. 3

Despite his obvious frustration, Jose Reyes will remain in the third spot in the lineup, according to Manuel. Reyes was batting .213 (10-for-47) in his previous 11 games and .228 overall with a .283 on-base percentage.

Extra bases

Henry Blanco is likely to need the full seven days allotted to bereavement leave, which means he could miss the entire Marlins series. If that's the case, Josh Thole is expected to start at catcher Sunday for Jon Niese . . . Ryota Igarashi, on the DL with a hamstring strain, threw a 46-pitch bullpen session yesterday, and a rehab assignment appears imminent . . . Jerry Manuel joked about Charlie Manuel dragging the Mets into the Phillies' sign-stealing controversy. "I don't know what Charlie's talking about,'' Jerry Manuel said. "Charlie just likes to throw some spice in the rivalry. That's what he likes. That's all good.''