LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- More relieved than anything, really, Oliver Perez jogged off the field at Disney's Champion Stadium in the sixth inning, when Mets manager Willie Randolph greeted him with a playful shove to the head.
These Mets don't need more injuries, so when Perez crashed into the ground and stayed there after fielding a ground ball, worries came afoot.
"My heart kind of skipped a beat, but he was all right," Randolph said, after the Mets beat the Braves, 9-4, on Thursday. "He was probably just more embarrassed than anything. He fell on his face -- it was kind of funny. He got up and the turf was all over his face and all up in his bubblegum. But that's Ollie. He's a unique character, and you expect that to happen to him."
Perez said he had the wind knocked out of him when, after fielding Braves left fielder Josh Anderson's grounder to the right side, he flipped the ball to first base and fell directly onto his stomach -- all in one motion. He remained on the ground for several moments before finally standing up, shaking off the dirt and returning to the dugout.
"He went down hard," Randolph said, laughing. "There was dirt all over his face. I think he was just more embarrassed -- he didn't want to let anyone see him like that, so he tried to play it off a little bit."
Aside from the dirt on his uniform, Perez's afternoon was nearly spotless. He allowed three runs over 6 1/3 innings, striking out four in his final Spring Training outing. He'll make his first regular-season start against the Marlins on Wednesday in Miami.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.