Piazza, Pedro feuded in '98

Updated: January 24, 2005, 9:15 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Mike Piazza is looking forward to catching Pedro Martinez and putting ill will behind them.

Martinez hit the New York Mets catcher on the left hand on June 5, 1998, causing Piazza to miss most of a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Pedro Martinez
Martinez

Mike Piazza
Piazza

"It shows you that all that money can't buy you class. Maybe he should invest in some lessons on etiquette," Piazza said then.

Martinez responded: "He wants to talk about class, well, he was a millionaire since he was a kid. He's not a better person than me."

Piazza, Martinez's former teammate in Los Angeles, said during a conference call Monday that he is willing to move on now that the three-time Cy Young Award winner left the Red Sox to sign a $53 million, four-year contract with the Mets.

"I think Pedro's a man of integrity, and I'm a man of integrity," Piazza said. "What we've had in the past is in the past. ... We're teammates now. And I know that I'm going to go out there and do the best possible job I can do for him, and I hope he feels the same for me. So, that's it. I mean, I'm going to be his No. 1 supporter."

Piazza is skipping the Mets' promotional events this week because he is getting married, so the team scheduled Monday's conference call.

Heading into the final season of a $91 million, seven-year contract, Piazza sounded excited, especially about New York's signings of Martinez and Carlos Beltran.

The 36-year-old catcher was slowed by injuries last season, hitting .266 with 20 homers and 54 RBI in 129 games. Last year, the Mets switched him to first base for 68 games, a move that backfired. He heads into this season with the team telling him he will be behind the plate.

"I think every player operates better when you have sort of marching orders," he said. "I just know that at least this year, at least right now I have a little bit of a blueprint, a little bit of a plan that I know I have to follow."

I think Pedro's a man of integrity, and I'm a man of integrity. What we've had in the past is in the past. ... We're teammates now. And I know that I'm going to go out there and do the best possible job I can do for him, and I hope he feels the same for me. So, that's it. I mean, I'm going to be his No. 1 supporter.
Mike Piazza

Trade rumors during the offseason didn't bother him.

"No one really called me to even think about waiving my no-trade clause. So I really didn't give the rumors or rhetoric much credence," he said.

In remaking the Mets' roster, new general manager Omar Minaya jettisoned pitchers Al Leiter and John Franco, who along with Piazza helped lead New York to the NL pennant in 2000. Leiter signed with the Florida Marlins and Franco, who was the Mets' captain, joined the Houston Astros.

"I don't know if it was a conscious purging," Piazza said. "It's just evident that the team is going in a new direction. ... I love playing with Al and Johnny. I mean, they're my friends, they'll always be my friends. But they know and I know that this game is very volatile and it changes."

Piazza hasn't committed to playing beyond this year but sounded hopeful.

"My body feels good. I still feel like I can be productive, maybe not the way I was 10 years ago," he said. "I set extremely high standards for myself, and I realize it's very tough to live up to those standards. ... I'm sort of at peace with who I am and where I've been and what I can contribute."


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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