Heavy-hearted Martinez ready to focus on pitching after father's funeral

Updated: July 29, 2008, 8:50 PM ET
Associated Press

Pedro Martinez


MIAMI -- Pedro Martinez was greeted with hugs and handshakes from teammates and manager Jerry Manuel in the New York Mets clubhouse Tuesday when he returned from the Dominican Republic after attending his father's funeral.

The right-hander said baseball has been an afterthought, but he'll now make pitching a priority as he prepares to start Friday against the Houston Astros.

"All the distractions were a little uncomfortable to deal with," Martinez said, "but now I know he's at peace."

Martinez was activated from the bereavement list, and the Mets optioned left-hander Willie Collazo to Triple-A New Orleans.

Martinez's father, Paulino, died last Wednesday at age 79 after a long battle with brain cancer. The funeral and burial were Friday.

"It hasn't been easy, but it's time to work and put it all behind and start looking forward to the pitching," said Martinez, who threw a bullpen session before Tuesday's game against Florida.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press