Thursday, September 21, 2006

Focusing on Pedro's tune up

Bryan Hoch at writes about Pedro Martinez and how all the attention will be on him in the next two weeks:

Mets manager Willie Randolph said the team is eager to gather a better sense of where their staff ace stands, which makes Thursday's start something of an information-gathering session.

"You always look forward to these outings," Randolph said. "These are your best guys."

Martinez returned from a strained calf muscle and one month of inactivity on Friday, throwing 68 pitches and three innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Martinez allowed four runs and six hits in the Mets' 5-3 loss, a disappointing effort in Martinez's own words.

"It's not like you can take a whole lot from that," Randolph said.

Randolph said Martinez -- who is 9-6 with a 4.03 ERA in 21 starts -- is still considered the primary candidate to pitch Game 1 of the National League Division Series for the Mets on either Oct. 3 or 4, depending on their playoff opponent. A longer outing on Thursday would help quell any concerns.

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