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Pedro to throw 45 pitches for Class A St. Lucie on Wednesday

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- At a news conference at the Mets' spring training complex,
Pedro Martinez said he plans to throw 45 pitches Wednesday for the St.
Lucie Mets and could make another start for the Class A team before
determining the next step in his comeback.

"I don't know how I'm going to be," Martinez said. "I just
know I feel better than the last two years or so. ... Every time I
throw I bounce back really quickly. Right now, I'm 100 percent
healthy."

The 35-year-old righty, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, had
rotator cuff surgery last Oct. 5, and threw to batters on June 26
for the first time after the operation. The Mets hope to have him
back in their rotation next month.

"My priority was to be healthy, and the only way I would find
out if I was healthy was by testing myself all the time," Martinez
said. "But at the same time, I've got no pressure. What could I
do? I could say I'm hanging my cleats up and going home because my
body's not responding. But it did, and so far it has."

Martinez was 9-8 with a 4.48 ERA in 132 2/3 innings last year
but missed the postseason.

"I'm a very proud man when it comes to this job," Martinez
said. "And my job is the most serious thing I could probably have
right now apart from my family's health and my health. I feel like
I owe it to this organization and to the fans."

Being away from the Mets has been difficult, Martinez said, even
though teammates had told him to be careful and take his time.

"I know I miss them, and I miss being around the field and
being around my teammates," he said. "It's been hard. It's been
really hard, a lot harder than I thought."