Around the Grapefruit League

Updated: March 7, 2007, 10:21 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

New York Mets: Pedro Martinez threw a baseball Wednesday for the first time since rotator cuff surgery last October.

The Mets ace lightly tossed a ball for about 10 minutes from a distance of about 45 feet at the team's minor league complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

"He looked good," said Randy Niemann, the Mets' rehabilitation pitching coordinator. "It's just the beginning. It's the start of a long process, but he looked really good."

Mets manager Willie Randolph and pitching coach Rick Peterson were not present -- they accompanied the team to Fort Myers for Wednesday's game against the Boston Red Sox.

Martinez, 35, went 9-8 last season with a 4.48 ERA. He had been doing the majority of his rehabilitation in the Dominican Republic during the past five months, making an occasional appearance at the Mets' minor league complex.

Martinez is not expected to rejoin the Mets' rotation until the second half of the season.

Park makes first start: Chan Ho Park started a game for the Mets after solving his physical and visa problems. He could start many more if he keeps pitching the way he did Wednesday.

Signed as a free agent Feb. 9, Park rebounded from a one-run first inning and allowed just a single in his other two as Boston beat the Mets 9-5. He is competing with at least five others for three spots in the Mets rotation.

Last season, Park was 7-7 with a 4.81 ERA with San Diego. He was sidelined by intestinal bleeding during the second half and had surgery Aug. 23 before being activated a month later.

He was supposed to start Friday against St. Louis but didn't have a work visa since the Mets had signed the native of South Korea to a one-year contract less than a month earlier. So he threw 35 pitches that day in a simulated game against minor leaguers.

Florida Marlins: Dontrelle Willis wants a better start this season, and Wednesday was a step in that direction.

Willis allowed one runner in three innings, and a Marlins split squad tied the Baltimore Orioles 2-2 in 10 innings in Jupiter, Fla.

Willis gave up only a single in his second outing of spring training. He started 1-6 in 2006, then finished 12-12.

"So far, so good," he said. "I'll just try to continue to build off that and continue to be confident, and hopefully when the bell rings everything will come together."

Pittsburgh Pirates: Jason Bay felt out of rhythm in his first spring appearance.

Pittsburgh's star outfielder went 0-for-3 as the designated hitter for the Pirates in a 5-2 win over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday in Fort Myers.

Recovering from offseason surgery on his left knee, Bay swung and missed at the first two pitches from Twins starter Boof Bonser and struck out looking in that at-bat.

Pittsburgh manager Jim Tracy held Bay out of the first five exhibition games as a precaution.

Los Angeles Dodgers: A season after becoming one of the best stories for the Dodgers, Takashi Saito was happy to be back on the mound.

The Dodgers' closer made his spring training debut Wednesday, pitching a scoreless fifth inning in a split squad's 11-1 loss to St. Louis.

"I'm really happy with everything today. I was back pitching in a Dodger uniform. I felt also happy that my calf was healed and I was able to pitch without limitations," said Saito, sidelined earlier by a sore right calf muscle.

Saito threw 10 pitches, seven for strikes, as he faced four hitters.

Detroit Tigers: Chris Shelton is trying to rebound after going from April star to October no-show.

After missing the first week of spring training games because of a pulled stomach muscle, Shelton has three hits in two games following Wednesday's 4-4, 11-inning tie with Atlanta.

"I'm just letting things fall into place," said Shelton, who was 1-for-1 against Atlanta and is 3-for-4 in the exhibition season. "They know what I can do, and I know what I can do."

Shelton had 10 homers and 20 RBIs for the Tigers last April, then slumped and was sent to Triple-A Toledo. He had six major league homers after April and batted .211 during a late-season callup.

Atlanta Braves: Braves starter John Smoltz was hit on the chest by Curtis Granderson's drive in the third inning of Atlanta's exhibition game agaist Detroit. Smoltz, who caught the ball after it hit his chest, was on the ground for several minutes but stayed in the game and got the final out of the inning.

Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said Smoltz was sore but shouldn't miss a start. Smoltz allowed three hits in three scoreless innings with a strikeout and no walks.

Washington Nationals: Shortstop Cristian Guzman played three innings in an intrasquad game Wednesday at the club's Viera, Fla., minor league complex. Guzman, who missed last season after right shoulder surgery, was seeing his first game action of spring training.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.