Mets' Martinez shelled in minor league rehab start

8/9/2007 - MLB Pedro Martinez New York Mets + more

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.

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

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.