New shoe to help Martinez decide on Classic

Updated: February 16, 2006, 12:48 AM ET
Associated Press

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Pedro Martinez is waiting to try out a specially designed Nike shoe before he commits to pitching for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.

Pedro Martinez

Martinez has had pain in his right toe and arrived early at the New York Mets spring training camp in Florida to start working out with the shoe, which is designed to relieve pressure on the toe when he pitches.

Manny Acta, the Dominican team's manager, said Martinez expects to get the protective shoe soon and decide next week whether he will play.

"If it were up to Pedro, he would pitch, but we only know that he will do that if he is healthy and not going to embarrass himself if he isn't up to 100 percent," Acta said during a conference call Wednesday.

Martinez has not run or thrown in nearly 10 days since aggravating his toe injury. He has treated it with cortisone shots before but he said he has to limit the use of cortisone to prevent other problems with his foot.

The Dominicans will begin pool play in the Classic on March 7 in Kissimmee, Fla.

"There is nothing I can do until we try things out with the shoes," Martinez said at the Mets facility in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

For now, Martinez has four pairs of shoes; one pair for running, one for workouts and two are cleats. He is using specially-made insoles to help alleviate the pain that his pitching motion causes his toe.

"That's why I showed up early. I need to have some time to work out and figure this out," said Martinez, who arrived at camp two days early on Tuesday. "I'm going to pitch against the best hitters in the world. It's going to be difficult."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press