Perez is 'outside' candidate for Saturday

Mets manager Jerry Manuel said Oliver Perez is an "outside" candidate to start Saturday's game against Philadelphia.

Pat Misch remains the most likely candidate to get the ball, but Manuel on Wednesday raised the possibility that Perez would start against the Phillies.

Perez, who alienated teammates when he refused a minor-league assignment in May, is 0-1 with a 9.31 ERA as a relief pitcher this season. He allowed a game-winning home run to James Loney in Los Angeles on July 24 and gave up four runs in mop-up duty against Arizona on August 1.

Hisanori Takahashi was originally scheduled to start Saturday's game. But he emerged as an eighth inning option out of the bullpen after he tossed a scoreless eighth against the Rockies in a 1-0 Met win on Tuesday.

Manuel called Misch, who was pulled after throwing 55 pitches in his start for Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday, a "possibility" to start on Saturday.

Perez said before Wednesday's game that he hadn't been made aware of the team's plans.

"I'm working every day to get back to where I was before," the left-hander said.

The Mets would have to send a player down to the minors to open a roster spot if they call up Misch or any other minor-league pitcher for Saturday's start.

"We've got a few different ways we can go with that particular move," Manuel said.

The manager added that the team has yet to discuss asking Perez to accept a minor-league assignment, but acknowledged that there was a "possibility" that they would do so.

ROD READY: Manuel said Rod Barajas is ready to start playing minor league games. The team has not announced when Barajas will begin his assignment. He has to be called up 2o days after he plays in his first minor-league game, according to MLB rules, and would figure to be back no later than when rosters expand Sept. 1. Barajas has been sidelined since July 25 witha left oblique strain.

WRIGHT OR REYES MAY SIT: Either David Wright or Jose Reyes could get the day off Thursday against the Rockies. Manuel said if the team wins Wednesday night that he'd consider sitting one of his starts. But if they lose, it sounded like he'll need them in the lineup.

"If [the Mets lose], we have to kind of go to the well and people just have to be ready to play," he said.