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Mets: Martinez could return by August

Mets: Martinez could return by August

ATLANTA -- If the Mets' wishful thinking comes to pass, three-time Cy Young Award winner Pedro Martinez will be back on the mound by August.

Martinez, who underwent surgery on his right shoulder in October to repair a torn rotator cuff, still hasn't begun throwing off a mound, and the Mets can't say with any certainty when he will return. But Mets general manager Omar Minaya expressed hope on Tuesday for an August return by the right-hander.

"Things with Pedro are moving forward very nicely," Minaya told the Associated Press during a visit to the Dominican Republic. "We are hoping for his return in August, but the most important thing is that he recovers from his injury."

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Minaya and Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon were in the Dominican Republic to break ground a $7.5 million baseball academy. The team also announced it will play three exhibition games in the country next spring.

Mets manager Willie Randolph confirmed Martinez has not begun throwing off a mound, and won't until he completes other phases of his rehab.

"He hasn't been on the mound yet," Randolph said, following the Mets' 8-1 loss to the Braves Tuesday night. "He's on a program that's leading up to that. I don't have the schedule in front of me, but he's making nice progress, and that's what we're hoping for, that he'll be back sooner rather than later."

Martinez, 35, who went 9-8 with a career-high 4.48 ERA in 2006, is in the third year of the four-year, $53 million contract extension he signed in December 2004.

The seven-time All-Star began light toss in early March and has been continuing rehab since then.

Jim Molony is a writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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