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On May 31, Oliver Perez tossed 2.2 innings against the Padres. He allowed four hits and gave up two runs. His ERA sat at 6.28 with a 1.97 WHIP and a 30:33 strikeout to walk ratio. Perez had been demoted to the bullpen and while there was some talk of trying to convince the struggling lefthander to accept a minor league assignment, nothing came of this discussion. Peter Gammons reported that Scott Boras, Perez’s agent, had suggested a stint on the disabled list, though no injury was apparent. While the Mets denied this suggestion was made, Perez eventually ended up on the DL.
Either because of the public discussions surrounding the Mets dilemma with Perez or a reason known only to MLB, the league opened an investigation into the sudden decision to place the struggling pitcher on the disabled list. After a few days, MLB officials concluded that Perez’s placement on the disabled list was legitimate, but it does seem rather convenient that when push came to shove on the Mets roster, Perez’s knee happened to give out.
Similarly, the Red Sox roster had been limited by the space taken up by Mike Lowell. During David Ortiz’s early season slump, there was an unofficial platoon in place, but Lowell racked up just 80 at bats before being placed on the DL, with just 13 at bats in June. Lowell, who was placed on the DL with continued trouble with his surgically repaired hip, had again been linked to the Texas Rangers in possible trade scenarios. With this latest setback though, teams will have little chance to observe Lowell in the field before the trading deadline.
Disabled list abuse is problem that MLB has been dealing with for a while. Besides moving a seldom-used player like Lowell, who doesn’t have minor league options, to the DL, teams famously hide players acquired in the Rule 5 draft on the DL as well. The Red Sox played this game with Adam Stern a few years ago and the Dodgers are doing some manipulation of their own with pitcher Carlos Monasterios. Monasterios was taken from the Phillies over the winter and can’t be optioned to the minors by the Dodgers without a risk or the Phillies reclaiming him. Going through a rough patch, the pitcher had given up 10 runs in his last 6.2 innings and came down with a blister. But if you ask Monasterios: “It doesn’t affect me.”