Martinez still upset a day after return

Pedro still upset a day after return

PITTSBURGH -- Whatever concern about Pedro Martinez exists within the Mets has not yet taken a defined shape. He says he's fine and prefers to make his next start after four days off. His manager says Martinez is fine and will make his next start after five days of rest. But that's not the issue. And maybe no issue exists.

"But something's going on," one teammate said Friday night after Martinez endured an unsatisfactory return to duty. Another teammate wanted to know Saturday whether Martinez had come to the ballpark for the Mets' second game -- and a possible division-clinching game -- against the Pirates. And a third player wanted to know simply, "What's up with Pedro?"

Suffice it to say not everyone is sure how to take Martinez's brief -- in innings -- and ineffective performance and its immediate aftermath from Friday. The pitcher acknowledged getting teary on the bench after his removal. And the television camera caught manager Willie Randolph consoling him.

Martinez was, in fact, in the clubhouse on Saturday afternoon. He spoke privately with bullpen coach/confidante Guy Conti for some 30 minutes. Randolph joined them for a few moments, at one point rubbing the pitcher's neck and shoulders as if to relieve stress or lingering disappointment.

"He's allowed to get emotional," the manager said. "He was very disappointed by his performance [Friday night]. He expected more from himself."

Pitching for the first time in a month and a day, Martinez threw 68 pitches and allowed four runs in three innings in the Mets' 5-3 loss. He hardly turned the page, as veterans routinely do, by Saturday afternoon.

Martinez reiterated that he was physically fine, that the soreness he experienced was normal and consistent with what he had expected, given his reduced summer workload.

"I feel good, like everybody else," he said.

But that hardly appeared to be the case.

Martinez also indicated that he needs to pitch more to regain stamina and precision, neither of which had been apparent on Friday. Randolph, who reiterated that Martinez will start the Mets' first postseason game, said the pitcher will make two starts before the playoffs.

"I don't need to be moved around anymore [in the rotation]," Martinez said, a reference to the Mets' practice of adjusting the rotation to afford him an extra day of rest between starts.

"I should be pitching every other day," he said, overstating his case.

At the time, he thought his next start would come Wednesday against the Marlins. Randolph checked his calendar and said, no, Thursday against the Marlins. With Martinez, no one would be surprised if it changed or remained the same.

Martinez said he would gain nothing by watching a replay of his 21st start -- only his fifth since June 28 -- and his sixth loss in 15 decisions.

"I'll look at a better game," he said, "and only video of an old game to correct myself."

If friends tried to contact him Saturday to offer support or advice, he didn't know. He didn't answer his phone, but spoke with his mother. He said he might seek the counsel of his brother, presumably Ramon, the former Dodgers pitcher, or "my coach."

And his teammates weren't quite sure what to make of it all.

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