Notes: Mets set rotation for after break

Notes: Mets set rotation for after break

NEW YORK -- The Mets expect Pedro Martinez to make a start in the first turn of their rotation following the All-Star break. The club announced its pitching assignments for five of the first six games -- no decision yet on whether John Maine or Mike Pelfrey will be part of the rotation -- and Martinez was penciled in to start the fifth game after the break, against the Reds in Cincinnati.

Martinez is assigned to the disabled list because of inflammation in his right hip. He has missed to two starts since he was battered by the Red Sox and bothered by the hip on June 28. General manager Omar Minaya believes Martinez is at home in the Dominican Republic and that he is preparing for his 17th start while there. Martinez is to rejoin the team in Chicago on Thursday.

The Mets don't play until Friday afternoon. When they do, Steve Trachsel will start, followed by Tom Glavine and Orlando Hernandez. Either Maine or Pelfrey will start the first game in Cincinnati on July 18 -- Minaya expects to make a decision by Thursday -- and Martinez and Trachsel will start the second and third games of that series.

Minaya said he wants to decide between Maine (0-3) and Pelfrey (1-0) before the Mets' 6 p.m. ET workout at Wrigley Field on Thursday, even though neither would start for five more days and there would be no reason to activate Martinez for six.

"I just think everyone should know their assignment as soon as possible," Minaya said.

And the Mets could always benefit from having an extra relief pitcher, particularly in small parks like Wrigley and Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

The general manager provided little insight into his plans for Maine and Pelfrey. But he appears to have higher regard for Pelfrey than other members of the Mets' staff do. And Pelfrey hardly was overpowering in his big-league debut on Saturday. Extenuating circumstances did exist, though. He had two extra days' rest and "first-time" anxieties working against him. That will be taken into consideration, Minaya said.

Getting around: Eli Marrero played third base for the first time in his career against the Yankees on July 2. Actually, it was the first time he played at the hot corner in his life.

"No, I never did it -- in Little League, in school, never," Marrero said with a laugh when asked about his experience playing the position.

When Mets skipper Willie Randolph asked Marrero to take third in the late innings of the Mets' 16-7 loss to the Yankees, the 32-year-old veteran followed orders, even though he had never seen time at the position during a game.

"I had taken grounders during batting practice throughout my career, but, no, never in a game," said Marrero, who started his career as a catcher and has played 345 games behind the plate, the most of any position. "I just went out there and had some fun."

Marrero made one assist on a grounder in the eighth inning and said he treated it with the same approach as handling the job at first.

"It's baseball, and I just had to be ready for any hard-hit balls," said Marrero, who said he did not receive any advice from David Wright prior to entering the game.

With his appearance in all three outfield positions as well as a couple innings at first base and behind the plate, the only place left to play for Marrero is in the middle part of the infield and on the mound. He has become Chris Woodward from last year, who played every position on the diamond, except pitcher and catcher.

"I'll do whatever I can to help the team," said Marrero, who was acquired in a trade with the Rockies earlier this season. "If they need me to pitch, I'll get up there and do that."

Marrero has played 125 games in left field in his career, 117 in right field, 58 at first base and 56 in center field.

Break is all business: Jose Valentin plans on using the All-Star break to take care of business down in Puerto Rico. Valentin -- who has owned the Manati Atenienses, a team in the Puerto Rican winter league, for the past three years -- will travel to his home country to evaluate and assess his roster for the upcoming season.

"It will be a good chance to figure out which players I will have from last year's roster, as well as make some calls on who we can get for the upcoming season," said Valentin, who stays in contact with his general manager, Jose Garcia, every day about the development of players in Puerto Rico.

Manati finished last in Valentin's first season as owner but, the team placed first in the regular season last year and advanced into the playoffs. Valentin has mentioned the possibility of Mets teammate Carlos Beltran playing for his ballclub this winter.

"The door's always open to any players that want to be a part of our squad," said Valentin, who has created a Major League environment at Manati in which the organization set an attendance record last season for the league.

Most of the other Mets players who aren't in the All-Star Game plan on returning to their homes in different parts of the country and using the time to rest. Xavier Nady said he will go back to San Diego, enjoy the weather and hang out by the pool at his home. Cliff Floyd will go to Florida and rest his banged-up body. Rookie pitcher Henry Owens said he would go to Binghamton, N.Y., from where he was recently recalled this past week.

"I'll just pack up my stuff, see my friends on the team and then wait to see where I go after the break," said Owens, who is unsure of his status.

Owens could either return to the Mets or be sent to Triple-A Norfolk.

Quotable: "Could I beat him? Nawww, no way." -- Endy Chavez, who tripled to lead off the second game on Saturday, when asked who would win in a race around the bases between him and Jose Reyes.

Coming up: The Mets get an extra day for their All-Star break, returning to action on Friday in Chicago. Steve Trachsel (8-4, 4.67) is slated to start the first game back, a 2:20 p.m. ET matchup against Greg Maddux (7-9, 4.89) and the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Marty Noble is a reporter for Chris Girandola is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.