MIAMI -- Pedro Martinez has enjoyed every pitch and every second he has spent in the majors, but he's already planning his retirement as an active player, possibly when his current contract with the New York Mets runs out after the 2008 season.
"I've sacrificed my life, my good years, to baseball. I want to go home while I still have the energy to spend time with my family," Martinez told ESPNdeportes.com. Work is good and it dignifies men, but I want to enjoy the fruits of my efforts. I plan to enjoy a nice retirement and a healthy life after baseball.
"I don't want to leave the game on crutches or in a wheelchair without having dedicated myself to my children and my family," he added.
The right-hander from the Dominican Republic is regarded as the best Latin American and one of baseball's best pitchers of all time. Martinez is 202-85 for his career with a 2.72 ERA and 2,941 strikeouts in 15 seasons. He won three Cy Young Awards between 1997 and 2000.
"I've done a lot in a short period of time, and now my body must pay the price. A lot of people get startled by the fact that I'm 34, but the thing is that in seven years I worked more than 95 percent of the pitchers in MLB," Martinez said.
"In order to achieve 200 wins and 3,000 strikeouts, you not only need to pitch in 200 games and 1,000 innings, but you must also count your losses, indecisions, and all the work at the bullpen," said Martinez, who has pitched 2,580 innings in his career.
He signed with the Mets for $53 million and four seasons in the winter of 2004. The agreement will end after the 2008 season.
"I'll most likely retire after this contract, but it'll depend on how I'm feeling at the time, and if I'm feeling then like I am now, my Dominican fans and my family wouldn't forgive me if I don't retire."
Friday, Martinez (5-1, 2.79) allowed two runs in seven innings and struck out 10 Florida Marlins, but lost for the first time this season 5-1. It was his first loss since Sept. 22, when he allowed a run and lost to the Marlins.
Martinez, who leads the National League with 80 strikeouts, revealed that he is not completely recovered from an injury to the big toe on his right foot, which kept him from playing for his country in the World Baseball Classic and limited his spring training practice.
"After every game, my foot swells and I have to go through an intense process of massages and treatment for four days to prevent the swelling," he said. The only day I don't work my foot is the day before the game."
Martinez, who wears a shoe specially designed by Nike to keep the injury from getting worse, will make his next start Wednesday against Arizona in New York.
Enrique Rojas is a reporter and columnist for ESPNdeportes.com and ESPN.com.