Right hip pain forces Mets to place Pedro on DL

NEW YORK -- All-Star ace Pedro Martinez was placed on the disabled list by the New York Mets on Thursday because of pain in his right hip.

Martinez missed his scheduled start on Monday and can now rest through the All-Star break.

"This is the perfect time to do this," Martinez said.

Martinez was chosen for the NL All-Star team but won't take part in next week's festivities in Pittsburgh, general manager Omar Minaya said. The move is retroactive to June 29, the day after the right-hander's last start.

Henry Owens was recalled from Double-A Binghamton to take Martinez's place on the roster. Owens will continue to work out of the bullpen for the Mets, who are trying to piece together a starting rotation while protecting a double-digit lead in the NL East.

Martinez (7-4) last pitched June 28 against the Red Sox in Boston when he allowed eight runs -- six earned -- and seven hits in just three innings.

The star pitcher revealed last week that he recently received a cortisone injection in his ailing hip. He felt similar discomfort last season, his first with the Mets, and aggravated the injury when he slipped in the bathroom and fell on his hip while changing his shirt during a series in Florida in May.

Since coming to the majors with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1992, Martinez has made several trips to the disabled list but none since signing with the Mets.

"My teammates have been urging me to do this so that I can be ready for the long run," Martinez said.

The Mets decided to put Martinez on the DL now so they can open up another roster spot for a pitcher. After Thursday night's series finale with Pittsburgh, New York will host Florida in a four-game weekend series that includes a doubleheader on Saturday.

"I don't want to pitch short another week," manager Willie Randolph said.

The Mets expect to make at least one more roster move before Saturday.

Randolph hasn't announced who will pitch this weekend except for the Sunday finale, the last game before the All-Star break, when left-hander Tom Glavine will start on his scheduled day.