Nike making special shoe for Pedro

Updated: January 27, 2006, 4:42 PM ET
By Enrique Rojas | ESPNdeportes.com

New York Mets ace Pedro Martinez will pitch the rest of his career wearing a special shoe in order to rehabilitate his injured right toe.

Pedro Martinez
Martinez

Martinez announced Friday that Nike is manufacturing a shoe that will allow him to play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic and with the Mets next season.

"I'm waiting for a special shoe, designed by a physician, which Nike is manufacturing so that my foot won't keep bothering me," Martinez told the international channel Color Vision, based in Santo Domingo.

"They've got to remove a piece that's under the damaged area to the shoe I used previously," he added.

Martinez said the injury emerged from a bad habit he's had during his career, with the final movement he makes when pitching.

"By having this irregular movement on my right foot, I've damaged the cartilage of my toe," said Martinez.

"The pain became insufferable during the 2004 season, and I had to take a cortisone shot in order to tolerate the pain and be able to help Boston win the World Series. Last year, the pain returned in June, but the doctors recommended that, rather than ignoring the wound by applying cortisone, I rehabilitate the foot instead, which is what we're doing right now."

Despite how uncomfortable his right foot felt, Martinez had an auspicious debut with the Mets in 2005, playing the first year of a contract worth $53 million over four seasons. The 34-year-old right-hander was 15-8 with a 2.82 ERA and had 208 strikeouts in 217 innings.

Martinez kept the Mets in the fight for a playoff spot until the first week of September.

"I have faith in God and I know I'll be ready. I'm being optimistic that I'll be able to play the World Baseball Classic and the 2006 season," said Martinez.

During the "Hoy Mismo" interview on Color Vision, Martinez discussed other issues, such as Alex Rodriguez's participation with the United States in the World Baseball Classic, his secret marriage to a journalist, and the cap he'd like his Cooperstown plaque to have if he's inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

"Alex is American because he was born in the United States, but after what Mike Piazza -- a future Hall of Famer, did -- who will be playing for Italy, and Nomar Garciaparra, who will be playing for Mexico, he had an excuse to do the same with the Dominican Republic," said Martinez, referring to Rodriguez's decision to represent the United States and not the Dominican Republic.

"Now Alex must prepare for the nasty comments that will arise in the Bronx, where almost half of the citizens are Latino and purely Dominican," he said. "In fact, when Alex gets [to the Dominican Republic], it's possible that not even the reporters will be here to welcome him."

Martinez confirmed he took the winter break to marry Carolina Cruz, a Dominican who worked for ESPN, but denied to comment about her private affairs. When he was asked whether he'd like to have his plaque marked with the Boston Red Sox in the Hall of Fame, Martinez said that's something he has to think about.

"I've got to see what happens in the next few years with the Mets. Actually I'm grateful to Boston, but also to New York," said Martinez, who confessed he hasn't worn the commemorative ring from the Red Sox's triumph in the World Series two years ago.

Enrique Rojas is a reporter and columnist for ESPNdeportes.com and ESPN.com.