Mets' Martinez shelled in minor league rehab start

Updated: August 9, 2007, 1:10 PM ET news services

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Pedro Martinez was optimistic after his first rehab start, even though he struggled through three innings and was pulled before reaching his target pitch count.

Pedro Martinez


Martinez gave up five runs and six hits in the Class A St. Lucie Mets' game against the Lakeland Flying Tigers on Wednesday, as he attempts to return to the New York rotation after offseason shoulder surgery.

"I felt great," Martinez said. "My arm, my body is recovering good. Making adjustments will take me a little while. I haven't pitched in so long."

Martinez struck out five and threw 44 of his 63 pitches for strikes. He did not walk a batter, but was hit hard when he missed.

Forty of Martinez's 64 pitches were fastballs. His heater topped out at 89 miles per hour and averaged 86 during his three-inning outing.

Lakeland center fielder Justin Justice homered to right in the second inning, and Deik Scram hit a solo shot in the third.

"I felt pretty good. Those kids kept it real for me," Martinez said. "I was working on my sinkers tonight and they hurt me on sinkers both times."

Martinez threw another 17 pitches in the bullpen following the start. He had expected to throw 80 pitches before minor league rehab coordinator Randy Niemann pulled him out.

"I'm not going to be sharp. I'm not going to be the Pedro they're used to seeing right now," Martinez said.

The 35-year-old Martinez had his rotator cuff repaired in October and has been working toward a return all season. The right-hander first threw to batters on June 26.

The three-time Cy Young winner was scheduled to make a rehab start last Wednesday, but it was rained out and he instead threw a 5 1/3 innings of a simulated game against minor leaguers the following day.

In the simulation, Martinez gave up two runs -- one earned -- and four hits against players from St. Lucie and the Gulf Coast League Mets. In 67 pitches, he struck out three, walked none and hit a batter.

The Mets have not announced where or when Martinez will make his next start.

"I've been away for so long, I'm ready to go back to New York," Martinez said. "I don't want to be in Florida anymore."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.