That is how my friend Kelly refers to Pedro Martinez since he signed with the Mets at the end of 2004. I can say his name, now, without spitting, but 2005 was a tough year to watch him in New York. Recently, though, I have been telling people (truthfully) that my anger about his being gone is over. He’s a full season out of Boston and I still have so many amazing memories thanks to him…I harbor no hard feelings. Well, not many anyway.
Today, my friend Dale pointed out this article about Pedro.
Let’s start with the first paragraph: "Pedro Martinez arrived at Mets camp early for the second straight year, looking thicker and healthy after adding 13 pounds to his frame."
Trust me when I tell you, New York Mets fans, that "thicker" does NOT mean "healthy" for Pedro. Well, generally speaking, maybe it does. But it does not necessarily bode well for his pitching arm. Just keep that in mind.
Here’s the kicker, if you will. Paragraph two: "But the ace has yet to throw off a mound, putting him behind previous tune-up schedules. And he’s still waiting for a specially engineered cleat that would allow him to test his still-injured foot."
Wow. Just wow. One full season after the Red Sox didn’t give him the long-term contract he wanted for what many believe is the valid reason that he was at a point in his career when he was getting more and more injury-prone and wouldn’t be worth the money for the performance you’d get out of him DOWN THE ROAD…Pedro hasn’t even started working out yet. The week pitchers and catchers are reporting to Spring Training. Because of an injury.
Granted, it isn’t the rotator cuff tear that most of Red Sox Nation believes will cause Pedro’s arm to fly off mid-game at some point over the next four years…it’s his big toe.
His big toe.
I’m not joking about that, really. Toe injuries are painful. Reportedly, the real issue is that he’ll compensate for the gimpy foot by putting too much pressure on his shoulder, thus exposing it to possible injuries.
So there is quite the chance that the Mets aren’t going to have their Ace for a chunk of the season.
Man, who in baseball could have seen this coming? No one, I guess. I mean, Pedro should have received as much money for as many years as he wanted…just like Omar Minaya gave him, right?
I think my favorite part of this story is how Pedro still plans to pitch for the Dominican Republic in the WBC. (Well, it isn’t part of the Daily News’s story…that tidbit was mention in a story on MLB.com late last week.)
Which is an issue I have with the WBC. Pitching for your country is great (and congrats to Mike Timlin, by the way, for making the 30-man roster for the American team!) but not if you’re 1) jeapordizing your health to do it or 2) choosing to play in the WBC over getting yourself into condition to play the regular season. I actually am happy every time I read about another player dropping out of the WBC. I don’t want it to fail…I’m all for patriotism and anything that gives me more baseball is a plus, but the regular MLB season is what is really important to me. I’m kooky and selfish that way. So if I’m a Mets fan, I’d be none too pleased that my Ace is planning on playing in the WBC, but Spring Training and the beginning of the season are a huge question mark.
The Daily News article ends thusly: "Martinez didn’t rule out participating in next month’s World Baseball Classic, but his availability surely is in question since the foot issue persists and he has yet to even step on a mound. "
So there you have it. His GM thinks he’s playing in the WBC and he hasn’t ruled it out. I loved Petey when he was on the Sox and I will always cherish the memories (and the Championship) he left me and all Red Sox fans…but I’m happy he isn’t our problem this season.