Mets pitcher will miss event with injured toe

Updated: March 2, 2006, 4:04 PM ET
By Enrique Rojas | ESPNdeportes.com

MIAMI -- New York Mets pitcher Pedro Martinez will miss the World Baseball Classic due to an injury in his right toe; he will not be included on the Dominican Republic's final roster, making him ineligible for the tournament, ESPNdeportes.com learned on Wednesday.

Martinez confirmed his plans Thursday.

"They're better off finding someone who can help them rather than taking me, out of shape, risking my career," Martinez said. "It would be totally unfair to the Dominican. I haven't even thrown a breaking ball yet."

Manny Acta, manager of the Dominican national team and third-base coach for the Mets, said Martinez won't be able to join his squad for the second or third round of the event as was the original plan.

"It's a shame, but Pedro won't pitch in the Classic," Acta said in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

"I met with Pedro to talk about this; he did everything he could, and he was ready to join the team later in the competition, but his injury delayed his preparations," added Acta. "Not being able to don the national colors makes him very sad."

On Tuesday, Martinez pitched for the first time during spring training sessions with the Mets and admitted he still has a long way from being ready for Opening Day in April.

The three-time Cy Young winner has suffered pain in his right toe since 2004 and even had a special shoe prepared for him to wear this season.

"I'm currently out of shape; my arm is not strong enough, and I still have to work really hard," said Martinez after completing 34 pitches Tuesday.

Acta knew he couldn't count on Martinez for the first round of the World Baseball Classic, to be played March 7-10, but hoped he could join his roster for the second round.

"Apparently, the rules of the competition would not allow us to do that," said Acta. "The only way we could do that was if we were to leave Pedro in our final roster."

Teams must present their final 30-men squads on Thursday.

"I actually reported early to try to do something. That was my main goal, to play for the Dominican. They know I would like to be there, but I cannot do it," Martinez said.

Martinez was not the only star player the Dominican Republic lost, either. Vladimir Guerrero, of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, also announced his withdrawal in a press conference in Tempe, Arizona.

Three of Guerrero's cousins died last weekend in a car accident in the Dominican Republic, and the player said he is not ready to take the field.

"Mentally, I'm not ready to give my best for my country," said Guerrero.

Acta said Guerrero would still be included in the final roster on Thursday, hoping that the player changes his mind during the weekend.

Manny Ramirez also officially confirmed he will not play the Classic by joining the Boston Red Sox spring training sessions in Fort Myers on Wednesday.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Enrique Rojas is a reporter and columnist for ESPNdeportes.com and ESPN.com.