Pedro throws four innings, 64 pitches

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Pedro Martinez has taken a "really big step" forward after throwing 64 pitches over four innings in a simulated game.

The Philadelphia Phillies' new right-hander faced hitters for the first time in 11 days on Tuesday and afterwards said he was excited about the outing.

"Real, real good," Martinez said. "Four innings, I was able to do that. I didn't feel tired. I felt like I could still do a little bit more."

The 37-year-old Martinez, who last week signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Phillies, is on the 15-day disabled list with a shoulder strain. He will throw off a bullpen mound Thursday, and if that goes well, will have another simulated game or pitch in a minor league game Sunday.

"I'm not disappointed with the way things went," Martinez said. "I didn't have a spring training and I'm still throwing strikes. To me, [Tuesday] was a plus."

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. was in Clearwater to watch Martinez's simulated game.

"I thought it went very well," Amaro said. "The ball seemed to be coming out of his hand much better, I think, in the second two innings than the first. I was impressed with his ability to throw his offspeed pitches for strikes."

Martinez faced 20 batters, striking out six.

"I finished really better than I started," Martinez said. "The first two innings, sluggish a little bit. I was feeling better as I got going. More confidence. More comfortable on the mound."

Martinez has been watching the NL East-leading Phillies on TV, and is enjoying the recent surge of his new teammates.

"I'm going to take my time here and do what I have to do," Martinez said. "Get ready to be just like them. They're the No. 1 team, the defending champs. I want to go out there and look like that, and I want to be able to help them continue to win."

Phillies assistant GM Scott Proefrock said Pedro's next outing could come Sunday in a rehab start with Clearwater of the Gulf Coast League, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. If Martinez pitches another simulated game instead, his first rehab assignment might come with another of the Phillies' minor league affiliates.

"It's also possible it [the first rehab assignment] could be up here," Proefrock said, according to the report. "Again, it depends on how he progresses."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.