Collins Talks Perez, Pitching Staff

The Mets took on the Atlanta Braves in spring training on action on Friday, taking the game 3-0. But the game went much deeper than that as Oliver Perez and others made important strides as spring training hits the back stretch. Inside Pitch was there to file this report.

Mets manager Terry Collins provided his state of the team address, this following New York trimming eight players off their big league roster. The most notable player cuts include pitchers: Boof Bonser, Dillon Gee and Taylor Tankersley. With 37 players remaining in camp, Collins praised a trio of talented starters at the Triple A level. Terry is adamant that there will be an opportunity for any of the boys from Buffalo to step in and fill a role.

"You can't point to one guy," remarked Collins. "It's going to be whoever is pitching best. I told Bonser and Gee the same thing. I told Mejia the same thing. I saw the guys from Buffalo today. I don't know what's going to happen but right now you got as good a three starters as there is at Triple-A. We're going to end up needing someone at sometime and it's going to be which one of those guys is ready and pitching well."

With Oliver Perez designated as a left specialist and Dillon Gee and Jenry Mejia refining their craft at the Triple-A level; the competition for the fifth and final spot in the starting rotation is wide open.

"The rotation is not yet set," admitted Collins. "Pat Misch is still in the mix along with Capuano. So we'll continue to let them go out there."

With so much doubt and negativity surrounding the future of pitcher Oliver Perez, Collins' seemed pleased with Ollie's scoreless outing against the Braves Friday afternoon despite falling behind hitters.

"Ollie threw from different angles, and gave them different looks," said Collins. "When he throws strikes he gets swings and gets outs. There are a lot of guys that like to pitch from behind, so they can use their other stuff. They pitch backwards at times. They fall behind on their fastballs and on fastball counts they give you something else to try and hit. There have been a lot of guys that have had success doing that. "

Journeyman D.J. Carrasco carried the day for New York pitching three scoreless innings, surrendering one hit, a walk and registering two strikeouts. Collins views Carrasco as a long man, with the potential as a spot starter if injuries befall the club as they' have the past few seasons.

"I think he's going to give us multiple innings," noted Collins. "The guy has a repertoire of pitches and because of the angles he throws from. If someone comes up with a stiff neck or bad leg and we someone who is stretched out and a spot starter, D.J. can fill that role for us."

When asked the age old question whether Carlos Beltran will be ready for opening day, Collins quipped:

"As I told Carlos today, if you want to look at the opening day lineup, let me know because I got it in my drawer, and your name is on it hitting fourth. He said he'll be ready so that's kind of what we're looking at."

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