Martinez: 'I need emotion of competition'

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Pedro Martinez could be back on a major league mound soon.

The right-hander said on Wednesday that he has had talks with the Chicago Cubs and Tampa Bay Rays and hopes to sign a contract in the near future.

"There's a good chance I'll be signing soon, but there still isn't anything firm," Martinez told The Associated Press.

Martinez, 37, has been training in his native Dominican Republic in hopes of returning to the majors. His four-year deal with the New York Mets ended after last season, making Martinez a free agent.

"Chicago and Tampa Bay are the two teams that have shown the most interest and we are negotiating with them, although I've told my agent not to call me until it's a done deal," he said.

However, ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine reported that according to a source close to the situation, while the Cubs did have a scout look at Martinez a month ago, no negotiations with Martinez have taken place.

Martinez wants to sign with the team that has the best chance of winning a pennant.

"I need the emotion of competition," he said.

Martinez has a 214-99 record with an ERA of 2.91 in 17 seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Montreal Expos, Boston Red Sox and the Mets.

ESPNChicago.com writer Bruce Levine and The Associated Press contributed to this report.