SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Beginning Wednesday, the Mets have 30 days to figure out what to do with Oliver Perez, and they may need every last one. Perez will make his first rehab start for Class A St. Lucie since he was placed on the disabled list June 5 with knee tendinitis and he can only be kept on assignment for 30 days, unless there is a new injury.
Omar Minaya said Tuesday that he has no timetable for Perez's return, but he's likely to require three or four rehab starts, which could take up to three weeks. Even if Perez doesn't need that much time, the Mets could use it. He's expected to throw about 90 pitches Wednesday.
When asked what Perez's role will be when he rejoins the Mets, Minaya shrugged. "You have to play it by ear," the general manager said, adding, "Right now we're starting him. I'm going to leave that to Jerry [Manuel] and to Dan [Warthen] as far as if they see him in another role besides starting."
In other words, there's no space for Perez on the pitching staff at the moment, and especially the rotation, where R.A. Dickey and Hisanori Takahashi have combined to go 9-3. The Mets have no intention of removing either one just for the sake of reinstalling Perez, who seems destined for the bullpen again.
In order to start the struggling Fernando Tatis, Manuel opted to sit Ike Davis last night against Marlins lefthander Nate Robertson. Davis already has made 63 starts in the Mets' first 76 games, but after an 0-for-4 with two strikeouts Monday, the timing seemed good for a break. Davis has not gone more than two games without a hit since his promotion.
"I'll just try to relax a little bit," Davis said. "I think it helps more from a mental standpoint than physical."