NEW YORK -- The Mets continue to expect that Pedro Martinez will be back on the mound at some point in 2007. But should Martinez's recovery from a torn right rotator cuff not go as planned, the right-hander would consider retirement, he said Friday.
Martinez told The Associated Press on Friday that his rehabilitation is going well, but also hinted that he does not want to return if he cannot be at full strength.
"It's getting better, and progress is above all what is hoped for," Martinez said. "To go back, I have to recover. I have to be healthy. But if God doesn't want that, then I would have to think about giving it all up."
Martinez, 35, is currently in the Dominican Republic after having rotator cuff surgery in New York on Oct. 5.
In a conference call with reporters this week, Mets general manager Omar Minaya said that Martinez is in frequent contact with team physician Dr. David Altchek and a personal trainer, who are guiding the ace through the beginning stages of flexibility and strength exercises.
Minaya said that Martinez is expected go through the majority of his rehab exercises at the Mets' complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla., although Martinez is not expected to begin throwing off a mound again until some point in June.
The three-time Cy Young Award winner struggled with pain through an injury-filled 2006 season that saw him go 9-8 with a 4.48 ERA in 23 starts, the first time since 2001 that he did not record double-digit victories.
Martinez needed an extensive process involving special footwear for an injured right toe simply to get back on the mound in Spring Training. He served two separate stints on the disabled list, which is why the ace said that 2006 was one of the most frustrating seasons of his career.
Martinez needs two strikeouts to reach 3,000. The Mets owe him $14 million next year and $11.5 million in 2008, the last two years of a four-year contract signed in December 2004.
Martinez told The Associated Press he believes he is up to the task of returning to the Mets' rotation at some point.
"It's going to be a bitter winter because I am going to have to do a lot of work," he said. "The pain I feel was one of the worst I have felt with any injury in my career."
Bryan Hoch is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.