Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Pedro rejoins Mets

Pedro Martinez rejoined the Mets on Monday, and though there is still no immediate timetable for his return to the mound, the team is pleased with the ace's progress and expects him back later this month.
Martinez, 34, has been on the disabled list since mid-August with a minor strain in his right calf, and had spent time at the team's Spring Training complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

He threw a 38-pitch side session over the weekend in Florida, the first time he had thrown since leaving an Aug. 14 start at Philadelphia after just one inning.

"Everything's going the way we hoped they would go, based on the medical reports we have," Mets general manager Omar Minaya said. "He's throwing, he's on the mound, he's throwing well. He says he's feeling good. We have to go on that."

Martinez was unavailable for comment before Monday's game against the Atlanta Braves but was spotted in the dugout prior to first pitch. Manager Willie Randolph said that he would guess the right-hander would return in mid-September.

"A lot of it depends on how he feels," Randolph said. "The main thing is that he's making steady progress, building up his pitch count [and the] volume of his count."

Minaya and Randolph both said they believed Martinez could pitch as many as three games in September before the postseason, based upon the Mets' schedule and Martinez's projected progress.

Randolph described Martinez as being in "great spirits" and noted that Martinez's schedule -- as it has been for much of the season -- remains flexible. The three-time Cy Young Award winner will alternate between throwing long-toss, side sessions and eventually simulated games as he works his way back to game action.

"The good part about it is that he's feeling good, he's feeling strong," Randolph said. "He's continuing to long-toss, and before he gets out there, he'll do a simulated game. Then we'll give him the ball and let him go."

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