Martinez slated to make return Tuesday, could throw 90-100 pitches

Updated: June 3, 2008, 2:16 AM ET
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- Pedro Martinez shook in his chair pretending to be nervous and chuckled at the thought he might have any anxiety leading up to his return to the mound for the New York Mets.

"I'm so nervous I can't move," Martinez joked. "Oh, man. Rub my glove. ... Manana [tomorrow], we'll talk."

Pedro Martinez

Martinez

On Tuesday night, the 36-year-old Martinez will make his second 2008 start and first since leaving his first outing April 1 at Florida with a strained left hamstring.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner sure seemed relaxed sitting at his back corner locker in the visiting clubhouse. Manager Willie Randolph said he expects Martinez to throw anywhere from 90 to 100 pitches -- and Randolph could be convinced to send him out for another inning if the right-hander convinces his boss that his body is fine to do so.

"It's great to have Pedro back. His energy is infectious," Randolph said. "He's been out a while. About 90 to 100 pitches. Don't hold me to it. That's around where he's going to be. It's going to be a big part of our success this year that Pedro stays healthy. All you can do is hope and pray that happens."

Randolph would like to see the Mets play impeccable defense behind Martinez so they "get the most out of his efforts."

Martinez clearly isn't too concerned about it all -- he just wants to get back to doing his job every fifth day in a Mets' rotation also featuring Johan Santana.

Martinez made only five starts in 2007 following his return from offseason rotator cuff surgery on his throwing shoulder.

"What am I going to talk about? I can't predict the future," Martinez said, holding his headphones. "Tomorrow after the game there will be plenty of news. Continue to play with pain. ... Am I ready? Am I nervous? It's a little too late to ask that. It's totally different coming off an arm injury and not knowing what to expect rather than worrying about a hamstring pull."

In his first outing before the injury, Martinez had a no-decision after allowing four runs and four hits with a walk and a strikeout in 3 1/3 innings. He has fared well against San Francisco, going 9-2 with a 3.59 ERA in 19 appearances and 14 starts over his career.

"There is some unknown there in the fact that he hasn't pitched in a while," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

After Monday night's 10-2 loss to San Francisco, the Mets optioned right-hander Carlos Muniz to Triple-A New Orleans to clear roster room when they activate Martinez on Tuesday.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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