Chris Capuano shines, Oliver Perez struggles as Mets prevail

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Simply put, Oliver Perez said he didn't do his job. It remains to be seen if he will get another opportunity with the New York Mets.

Perez surrendered consecutive homers to Jeff Frazier and Brian Bixler during the Mets' 7-4 victory over the Washington Nationals, hurting his chances of staying with New York as a reliever.

"Every day is different," he said. "People can say a lot of stuff, but it's just one of those days. I have to come in here tomorrow and try to get better."

Perez, whose velocity has been down since he won 15 games in 2007 season, was 1-6 with a 5.94 ERA in seven starts to begin last season before being moved to the bullpen. He went on the disabled list with patella tendinitis in his right knee on June 5 and made just six appearances the rest of the season.

He was in the mix for a rotation spot this spring but quickly fell out of the competition. The Mets decided to try him as a situational left-hander, but that doesn't appear to be working too well, either.

Perez, who is owed $12 million in the last season of a $36 million, three-year contract, entered Saturday's game with runners on second and third and no out in the seventh inning. Frazier greeted him with a three-run homer and Bixler followed with another drive, trimming New York's lead to 7-4.

Perez got the next two batters out, then walked Robert Bernadina and yielded an infield hit by Danny Espinosa before he was replaced by Roy Merritt.

The next move likely belongs to manager Terry Collins and general manager Sandy Alderson.

"Today [Perez] didn't get it done," Collins said. "Sandy and I are going to have to talk about it and come up with a plan."

That plan may include releasing Perez, like New York did Friday with second baseman Luis Castillo despite owing him $6 million for 2011.

The Mets' split-squad did get some solid pitching Saturday from Chris Capuano, who pitched three-hit ball into the sixth inning. The lefty threw 78 pitches before leaving with two out and nobody on. He struck out five.

"I felt good out there today," he said. "I had a good rhythm today. This is as good as I've felt in three or four years."

Jason Marquis allowed six runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings for the Nationals. The right-hander had allowed just one earned run in 12 innings this spring.

Game notes
Mets LHP Johan Santana threw from a distance of 70 feet for the second consecutive day. Santana looked impressive as he continued his rehabilitation from a Sept. 14 surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. "[Santana] had his best week by far this week," pitching coach Dan Warthen said. ... Following the release of Castillo, Mets first base coach Mookie Wilson has reclaimed the No. 1 he wore when he played for the Mets from 1980 to 1988. ... The Nationals started Jerry Hairston Jr. in center field, which manager Jim Riggleman says could happen a lot this season when the Nationals face left-handed starters. Hairston Jr. went 0 for 3 and misplayed a line drive hit by his brother, Mets outfielder Scott Hairston, taking a bad angle on what would ended up as a bases-loaded triple.