Oliver Perez accepts demotion to the Mets’ bullpen

Having failed to earn back a job in the starting rotation,

Oliver Perez is ready to pitch out of the New York Mets’

bullpen.

”This is not about me,” Perez said Thursday, a day after

manager Terry Collins informed the left-hander of the decision. ”I

want to help the team, and this is the best opportunity for me to

help the team, by moving to 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.

”He was clear with me when I came the first day that he would

give me the opportunity,” Perez said of Collins, the Mets new

manager. ”He said that if I didn’t do great I’d be moved to the

bullpen. I thanked him for the opportunity to be a starter.”

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’s the manager. That’s the guy who has to make the decision.

Sometimes we get mad … but I understand this is all about the

team,” Perez said. ”The other guys are pitching better than me.

That’s why I’m in the bullpen.”