The always informative Adam Rubin of the Daily News, gives us an update on lefthanded starting pitcher Oliver Perez, who is one of many Mets in attendance today at the Mets Mini Camp.
According to Rubin, Perez, who underwent Sept. 1 surgery to remove scar tissue from his right knee, pronounced himself fit and ready to go during today’s workouts.
As for Perez’s knee, he said: “Right now I don’t feel anything. I think that’s why I’m really happy.”
Last spring, Perez arrived to camp out of shape and overweight, after signing a 3-year deal that offseason for $36 million dollars.
It invoked the ire of pitching coach Dan Warthen and manager Jerry Manuel who both expressed disappointment. Perez further complicated the situation when he left for the World Baseball Classic, choosing to forego the conditioning he desperately needed to get back to pitching shape.
His dismal performance at the WBC only confirmed Warthen’s claims that Perez was in terrible shape.
The resulting 2009 season, ended up being one to forget for Perez as he lost his job in the rotation, was banished to the bullpen, came up lame with a bum knee, and spent the rest of the season suffering through setbacks and poor performances in the minor leagues.
After hitting rock-bottom, Perez took his off season conditioning more seriously this time and even relocated his off season home to Arizona where he worked out daily at the behest of the Mets. He has spent all winter training at Fischer Sports, along with fellow major leaguers Kerry Wood, Sergio Mitre and Mike Hampton.
It looks like Perez got the message loud and clear, and seems very motivated to put the disaster of 2009 behind him.
The Mets could get some value out of that ill-advised deal if Perez can somehow fulfill some of those expectations scouts have been talking about since he broke into the majors. At 28 years old, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility.