"It's certainly unacceptable," said Pirates general manager Dave Littlefield of the cart-kicking incident. "Not only does it hurt Oliver and his progress this year, but certainly it's a letdown for the team."
Perez has gone 6-5 with a 6.16 ERA in 15 starts one season after emerging as one of the dominant left-handed pitchers in baseball. He pitched well immediately after taking two weeks off in May to work on his pitching mechanics, but in his last three starts, he once again struggled with his command, allowing 13 runs and walking 13 batters in 16 innings.
"The will that [Perez] had to compete in that game [Sunday] was just extraordinary," said Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon. "I really thought he was turning the corner. This is a tough break for us.
"It's really a shame that this happened. We're going to have to take a step back, regroup and move on."
Although McClendon called Perez's actions "a sign of immaturity on the young man's part," the skipper was quick to point out that Rangers veteran Kenny Rogers broke his pinkie on June 17 after hitting a water cooler in frustration.
"Before we go throw the young man under the bus, I just caution you that Kenny Rogers did the same thing in Texas," McClendon told reporters. "I don't condone it. More than anything, it hurts this club. I wish he would have thought about what he was doing before he did it. The kid is a competitive young man, and he wants to win. That's where all of this stems from."
Right-hander Ian Snell, who was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis on Sunday, would appear to be the likely candidate to replace Perez in the rotation. However, Littlefield was not ready to commit to that move as of Tuesday afternoon.
"It's something we're looking at right now as to what we do with Oliver's starting spot," said Littlefield. "No decision has been made."
McClendon said that Snell and Triple-A lefty Zach Duke were both being considered as options to start on Saturday in Milwaukee. Duke would have to be added to the 40-man roster in order to join the club.
"There are a lot of possibilities," said McClendon. "I'm just not sure how things are going to work out right now."
Outfielder Nate McLouth was recalled from Indianapolis to take Perez's place on the 25-man roster. In 74 games with the Indians, McLouth batted .306 with 12 doubles, five home runs, 32 RBIs and a team-leading 23 stolen bases.
The Pirates will likely call up another pitcher from the Minors on Saturday rather than stick with an 11-man staff.