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Pedro throws 5+ innings to Mets minor leaguers

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- A day after his first scheduled minor league rehab start was rained out, Pedro Martinez pitched 5 1/3 innings in a simulated game Thursday against New York Mets
minor leaguers.

With general manager Omar Minaya looking on, Martinez gave up
two runs -- one earned -- and four hits against players from the St.
Lucie Mets and the Gulf Coast League Mets. Martinez threw 50 of 67
pitches for strikes. He struck out three, walked none and hit a
batter.

"I feel well right now," Martinez said. "I can tell you after
the game, whether I iced or not, I feel fine. I feel normal."

Martinez, who could start for the St. Lucie Mets as soon as
Tuesday, needed 39 pitches to get through the first two innings. He
pitched more efficiently the rest of the way.

"Really, I thought the encouraging part for me was the
back of those innings," Minaya said. "The back of those innings
when he was throwing the fastball down and away with the movement,
that's Pedro."

Most of Martinez's fastballs were from 86-88 mph, Minaya said.

"Anything that we get from Pedro this year is extra," Minaya
said. "We feel that there is a chance ... for me the guys that we
have right now, we have to plan on winning with these guys. We're
not saying that he's going to come back and be this guy that's
going to get us to the next level."

Martinez said he felt more comfortable toward the end of the
start.

"I'm still missing location badly, and I wasn't aware that that
was going to be so fine toward the end," he said. "Actually
toward the end I felt better than starting the game, and that means
I need work."

Martinez was happy that his body endured the outing.

"After the third inning, they told me, 'You're going one more.'
And then the fourth, 'You're going one more.' And I continued
feeling better and better," Martinez said. "That really told me
that all of the work that we needed to do for my arm strength and
[to] strengthen my body has paid off so far."