Martinez: Retirement possible if shoulder doesn't heal

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Pedro Martinez says if his right shoulder doesn't return to full strength, he would consider retiring.

Martinez missed the latter part of the season for the New York Mets with a calf injury and had surgery Oct. 5 to repair a torn rotator cuff. He isn't expected to resume throwing off a mound until June.

Thus far, his recovery has gone well.

"It's getting better and progress is above all what is hoped for," Martinez told The Associated Press on Friday. "To go back I have to recover. I have to be healthy. But if God doesn't want that, then I would have to think about giving it all up."

The three-time Cy Young Award winner is working on flexibility but said he "won't put his hand on a ball" until at least March.

Martinez said 2006 was the toughest season of his career. He went 9-8 with a 4.48 ERA in 23 starts.

"It's going to be a bitter winter because I am going to have to do a lot of work," he said. "The pain I feel was one of the worst I have felt with any injury in my career."

Martinez needs two strikeouts to reach 3,000. The Mets owe him $14 million next year and $11.5 million in 2008.