Pedro says he's ready; Mets lose

March 26, 2008 6:33:54 PM PDT
Pedro Martinez is ready for the regular season and he plans to be a vocal leader in the clubhouse this year.The three-time Cy Young Award winner threw 80 pitches against minor leaguers Wednesday before the New York Mets lost 7-5 to the Florida Marlins.

Martinez went six innings and pronounced himself healthy heading into the season. The right-hander missed most of 2007 following shoulder surgery.

"I just went out there and got my work in and I came out healthy," Martinez said. "I had more command. I'm getting better day to day."

Martinez threw on a back field rather than face the Marlins, the team he is scheduled to pitch against in the second game of the season next Tuesday in Miami.

Martinez, who spent much of last season in Port St. Lucie rehabilitating his shoulder before joining the Mets in September, is excited about breaking camp with the team.

"I can't wait to get out of here," Martinez said. "These kids over there made it fun for me and I want to say thanks to them, but it's time to get back to my real team and wish them luck."

Mets manager Willie Randolph has said there will be no restrictions on Martinez this season, though the team might still look to give him extra rest between starts when possible.

"Look, I'm not superman," Martinez said. "Whatever I am asked to do, I'm going to do. I'm just going to go out there and try to stay healthy and make each start. If I'm healthy, I'm going to pitch and things are going to happen, good or bad, I don't care."

One thing Martinez plans to do is take more of a leadership role in the clubhouse.

"If I see something I need to say, I'm going to be more vocal," he said. "I'm old enough and have earned enough respect I think to speak up."

While new ace Johan Santana will get the opening-day assignment Monday at Florida, Martinez is scheduled to start New York's home opener April 8 against the rival Philadelphia Phillies.

"I'm pretty sure (the fans) are interested in seeing Johan, too, but until then, they're going to have to settle for a familiar face," Martinez said.

Santana is slated to make his Shea Stadium debut for the Mets on April 12 against Milwaukee.

The Marlins touched New York bullpen candidates Nelson Figueroa and Joe Smith for six runs on five hits in two innings.

Figueroa gave up a three-run homer to Jorge Cantu in the sixth, and Smith allowed a two-run shot to former Met Mike Jacobs in the seventh.

The bullpen's failure dampened what was a strong performance by Mets rookie right-hander Bobby Parnell, who tossed five shutout innings. He allowed three hits and struck out five.

Ricky Nolasco earned the win, allowing two runs and seven hits in five innings.

New York reliever Duaner Sanchez, awaiting word on whether he will be with the Mets on opening day, gave up one run and two hits in one inning.