With Buffalo up next, Ollie stretching out

With Buffalo up next, Ollie stretching out

NEW YORK -- Oliver Perez continues to inch toward a return.

After picking up the win Tuesday for Class A St. Lucie, Perez was scheduled to report Wednesday to Triple-A Buffalo, where he will continue his Minor League rehab assignment.

Perez, who allowed two runs on two hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings Tuesday, is due to come off the disabled list no later than July 29 -- though the organization does not yet have a role defined for him when he returns.

Still, the Mets will continue to stretch Perez out as a starting pitcher, thereby retaining their full array of options.

"You can go from starter to reliever very easily," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. "It's very difficult to go from reliever to starter."

As long as Hisanori Takahashi remains in the rotation, Perez will have no place as a starter on the Mets. To that end, Manuel maintained Wednesday that Takahashi will continue to start games for the Mets after the All-Star break.

But Perez, who has been on the disabled list since June 5 with patella tendinitis in his right knee, now lurks in Buffalo. As long as he remains stretched out -- he threw 85 pitches Tuesday -- he will remain an option for the Mets.

"I think Ollie's a starter," Manuel said. "I think it's easy to take a guy that's a starter and if you needed to put him in the bullpen, you could."