Mets pitcher Martinez sharp in Class A start

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Pedro Martinez, who had been sidelined since straining his left hamstring on April 1, lost his pitching duel with David Price in a Class A game in Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Wednesday night.

However, the rehabbing New York Mets pitcher, scheduled to make his second start of the season June 3 against the San Francisco Giants, looked healthy and showed a steady throw.

"Regardless of the final score, I have accomplished the initial goal: to pitch at least five innings without feeling the discomfort in my leg," Martinez told ESPNdeportes.com. "It was a good night."

Martinez came out as the losing pitcher as the Vero Beach Devil Rays beat the St. Lucie Mets 2-0. Despite the outcome, Martinez had an optimistic view.

"I'm so ready to join the Mets [at major league level]. Let's just hope that from now on everything unfolds according to the plan. I just pray to God that I stay healthy," added Martinez, who posted 82 pitches (63 strikes, 19 balls) against the Devil Rays at Tradition Field.

Martinez allowed four hits and two runs in six innings. He mostly used his fastball at a speed that ranged between 87 to 89 mph and an occasional 90 mph. Martinez registered 22 pitches in the first three innings but needed 26 pitches to close the fourth inning, allowing two runs and two hits.

"As you noticed, I didn't force my pitch. I was just looking for consistency and strength in my pitching arm and my leg," said Martinez. "Considering all the things that crossed my mind before and during the game, I think I did a decent job."

Martinez made just five starts last year while recovering from surgery on his right rotator cuff. The Mets are below .500 this season, and their slow start led to speculation that manager Willie Randolph's job was in jeopardy.

Though he hasn't spoken directly to Randolph, Martinez has been in touch with some of his teammates.

"It's not only Willie," Martinez said. "It carries over to the whole team. When you struggle, everything seems to come at the wrong time, and right now the team is struggling, so everything just shows up.

"But I'm pretty sure that this team can bounce back and we'll be able to get everything straightened out," he said.

Price, the top overall pick by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2007 draft, struck out nine and allowed only two hits in six innings.

Price, 22, has allowed five hits and struck out 13 in 11 innings, supported by a 98 mph fastball.

"The kid is amazing," Martinez said about the prospect. "He has an amazing arm and knows how to use it."

Replied Price: "It is a truly significant compliment, coming from Pedro Martinez, winner of several Cy Young awards. If you throw strikes and control the ball, you'll be successful. And that's precisely what I'm doing."

Enrique Rojas covers Major League Baseball for ESPNDeportes.com.