Piazza, Pedro feuded in '98

NEW YORK -- Mike Piazza is looking forward to catching
Pedro Martinez and putting ill will behind them.

Martinez hit the New York Mets catcher on the left hand on June
5, 1998, causing Piazza to miss most of a three-game series against
the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

"It shows you that all that money can't buy you class. Maybe he
should invest in some lessons on etiquette," Piazza said then.

Martinez responded: "He wants to talk about class, well, he was
a millionaire since he was a kid. He's not a better person than

Piazza, Martinez's former teammate in Los Angeles, said during a
conference call Monday that he is willing to move on now that the
three-time Cy Young Award winner left the Red Sox to sign a $53
million, four-year contract with the Mets.

"I think Pedro's a man of integrity, and I'm a man of
integrity," Piazza said. "What we've had in the past is in the
past. ... We're teammates now. And I know that I'm going to go out
there and do the best possible job I can do for him, and I hope he
feels the same for me. So, that's it. I mean, I'm going to be his
No. 1 supporter."

Piazza is skipping the Mets' promotional events this week
because he is getting married, so the team scheduled Monday's
conference call.

Heading into the final season of a $91 million, seven-year
contract, Piazza sounded excited, especially about New York's
signings of Martinez and Carlos Beltran.

The 36-year-old catcher was slowed by injuries last season,
hitting .266 with 20 homers and 54 RBI in 129 games. Last year,
the Mets switched him to first base for 68 games, a move that
backfired. He heads into this season with the team telling him he
will be behind the plate.

"I think every player operates better when you have sort of
marching orders," he said. "I just know that at least this year,
at least right now I have a little bit of a blueprint, a little bit
of a plan that I know I have to follow."

Trade rumors during the offseason didn't bother him.

"No one really called me to even think about waiving my
no-trade clause. So I really didn't give the rumors or rhetoric
much credence," he said.

In remaking the Mets' roster, new general manager Omar Minaya
jettisoned pitchers Al Leiter and John Franco, who along with
Piazza helped lead New York to the NL pennant in 2000. Leiter
signed with the Florida Marlins and Franco, who was the Mets'
captain, joined the Houston Astros.

"I don't know if it was a conscious purging," Piazza said.
"It's just evident that the team is going in a new direction. ...
I love playing with Al and Johnny. I mean, they're my friends,
they'll always be my friends. But they know and I know that this
game is very volatile and it changes."

Piazza hasn't committed to playing beyond this year but sounded

"My body feels good. I still feel like I can be productive,
maybe not the way I was 10 years ago," he said. "I set extremely
high standards for myself, and I realize it's very tough to live up
to those standards. ... I'm sort of at peace with who I am and
where I've been and what I can contribute."