Speaking Thursday for the first time since he was reassigned from the New York Mets' starting rotation competition to the lefty-specialist race, Oliver Perez said he could not quibble with manager Terry Collins' decision and accepted that he got a fair chance at starting.
"He was clear with me. When I came here the first day before spring training he told me, 'We want to give you an opportunity. And if you don't do great, we're going to move you to the bullpen,' " Perez said. "I said, 'That's OK.' He's the manager. I think that's the guy who has to make the decision. Sometimes we get mad. Sometimes we understand. I understand. It's all about the team. It's not about me. I want to help the team. I think this is the best opportunity to help the team -- to be in the bullpen."
Perez was 1-1 with a 9.00 ERA, five walks and a .345 opponents batting average in seven innings over two spring training starts and one relief appearance. In his last outing, he allowed his first four batters to reach.
Owed $12 million in the final season of a $36 million, three-year deal, Perez said he didn't request another start or two to give the Mets a chance to reassess.
"He told me, 'We want to move you to the bullpen.' And I told him, 'That's OK. I'm just thankful for the opportunity you gave me for trying to be a starter,' " Perez said. "He told me the other guys are pitching better than me, and I agree. They have been pitching better. That's why I'm going to the bullpen trying to find a job there."
Perez said adjusting to the bullpen wouldn't be an issue.
"I don't have a problem warming up quickly because I only throw like 10 pitches and I feel ready," Perez said. "I know it's going to be a different job, but I have to get ready and learn and be ready for those situations. ... I feel more comfortable throwing against lefties. You never know. That could be a very good job for me for now."
Perez wants to be a starter again down the road.
"Oh yeah, because all my career I've been a starter," said Perez, who is working on a sidearm changeup to offset the lack of velocity he is currently experiencing.
Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.