The only way Oliver Perez will get another opportunity to start a major league game is:

a.) He accepts a minor league assignment (which he doesn’t appear willing to do)
b.) He pitches in a series of “mop up” games and is flawless (this could take months)
c.) He is traded (meaning, another organization is looking for an inconsistent, overpaid pitcher)

Let’s face it, Perez’ selfishness, prioritizing himself ahead of the best interest of the team, is a mistake. He is the embodiment of what is wrong with the Mets. Despite claiming his was “embarrassed” by his wildness Saturday in Philadelphia, followed my the comment — “If I need it, I have to go, because right now, I’m not helping my team.” — when push came to shove, he rejected the minor league assignment.

Perez sat, arms folded, hat over his eyes, in the Mets bullpen Monday night. In all likelihood, Perez will sit there and rot, unless the Mets need a “mop up” guy.

“He won’t be the first guy I call,” Manuel told the media. “There’s no question about that. At the same time, you have to be cognizant not to bury him in the pen. It’ll be a tough challenge for us as a staff to make sure we are trying to get him back on track.”

Can you blame him? Perez is 1-2 with a 9.97 ERA and has allowed 28 hits and 21 walks in 21-2/3 innings. The Mets can’t afford putting Perez in close game. The Mets don’t need to use him in a close game, not with Pedro Feliciano, Bobby Parnell, Sean Green and Brian Stokes willing, eager, effective and ready to go. So, when and where will the Mets three-year, $36 million investment earn his salary?

At least in Buffalo or St. Lucie Perez could — and would — pitch without the scrutiny of the New York media. Perez could pitch, stay healthy, work on mechanics and regain his confidence, none of which he is expected to get from a stint in the bullpen.

Omar Minaya, not Manuel, conceded. His No. 3 starter will get an opportunity to prove himself via the bullpen. It’s a clear mistake for Perez and the the team.

The Mets will now be forced to hand the ball to Ken Takahashi Friday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 40-year-old major league rookie will make his first-ever major league start. If he performs, he gets another start. If he doesn’t, Tim Redding could be next in line. Redding is scheduled to start for the Buffalo Bisons tonight before being activated.

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