Pedro struggles in 5th in 2nd rehab turn

Updated: August 1, 2009, 10:21 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -- Pedro Martinez allowed five runs -- four earned -- and three hits in five innings of a rehab start Friday night for the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Philadelphia Phillies' top minor league affiliate.

Using a fastball that reached 93 mph on the stadium radar gun and an effective changeup, Martinez breezed through four innings against the Columbus Clippers, allowing only one run. He then gave up four more in a 35-pitch fifth.

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"To me, it felt great," he said. "The results may not look like everybody wanted, including me, but I feel it was a very positive day."

Martinez signed a one-year deal with the Phillies on July 15 and was immediately placed on the disabled list due to a right shoulder strain. His first rehab appearance, for Class A Clearwater on July 26, lasted only 1 1/3 innings because of rain.

Martinez threw 84 pitches total on Friday, striking out four and walking three, in what could be his final rehab start before joining the defending World Series champion.

Clippers center fielder Michael Brantley smacked Martinez's second pitch over the right-field wall, but the 37-year-old right-hander maintained velocity on his pitches throughout his outing. He recorded many outs on changeups and struck out Jordan Brown to end the fifth.

"I felt good on that last pitch. I popped some fastballs that I was really pleased with," Martinez said. "The changeup is a reflection of the fastball. If the fastball is good, the changeup is going to look even better. It confused a lot of people. The curveball is getting better, too.

"I know I'm not too far away from what I want to achieve. One more out could make the difference between a good, good outing and an average outing. I'm healthy and it shows. I didn't lose anything pitching out there, except from the stretch."

He said he wasn't tired in his final inning.

"It wasn't fatigue because I felt that once I got back to the full windup, I felt in command again," Martinez said. "The stretch position gave me a little bit of a hard time, which is common for a guy who hasn't pitched very often."

On Friday, Martinez was asked about former Boston teammates David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, who The New York Times reported were among the 104 major league players listed as having tested positive for performance-enhancing substances in 2003.

Martinez staunchly defended both.

"As far as I'm concerned, I didn't know they were using [steroids]. But that was something common among players," Martinez told ESPNdeportes.com's Will Gonzalez. "They never told me they were using though."

The three-time Cy Young Award winner said he was "shocked" to hear about The Times report.

"Manny has been an accurate hitter," Martinez said. "Those things [steroids] will help you physically, but they won't give you the concentration required to hit the ball in crucial situations [in the game].

"I don't agree with it [using steroids]. I believe you have to play it clean. They both have my absolute support."

Ortiz and Ramirez, both natives of the Dominican Republic, were the third and fourth members of the list to be revealed. In February, SI.com reported that Alex Rodriguez tested positive and The Times reported in June that Sammy Sosa was on the same list. Martinez wondered about the pattern.

"They were not the only ones in that list. There were many other," Martinez said. "Out of almost 100 ball players and only four Dominicans have been revealed? What is going on here? Why is that? Am I the only one left? One of these days they'll say that 'Pedro was in the list, too.' Then I'll take my clothes off to show them that I never had acne in my back.

"My weight is 188 lbs. today and it was the same back in 2003 and in 2004 ... always. If I ever used [steroids], then I need my money back because it never worked."

Regardless of the report, Martinez was unfazed when asked about the 2004 World Series he won as a member of the Red Sox with Ortiz and Ramirez.

"There's no crying in baseball. We won in 2004," Martinez said. "That's it. Do you mean to tell me that all the rest of the players who used [steroids] are crying? They used steroids, too."

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said the next step for Martinez will be throwing a bullpen session Sunday.

"We don't have a current plan as of yet what the next step is other than he'll throw a bullpen on [Aug. 2]," Amaro Jr. said during the Phillies' game at San Francisco. "Once we talk to Pedro about the plan, we'll let you know."

Information from ESPNdeportes.com's Will Gonzalez and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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