VIERA, Fla. -- The start to Pedro Martinez's season has been delayed. No, not due to injury -- this time, due to rain.
Heavy thunderstorms blanketed the east coast of Florida on Thursday evening, forcing the cancellation of a scheduled game between the Mets and Nationals at Space Coast Stadium. Martinez will instead pitch a simulated game on Friday at 9 a.m. ET at the team's Spring Training complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Normally, Martinez's start simply would have been pushed back a day. But with the Mets facing one of their longest road trips on Friday -- a 115-mile drive to Winter Haven to face the Indians -- the team wasn't inclined to bring him along. He had joked earlier on Thursday about the hour-long drive to Viera being the longest he was willing to endure this spring.
So Martinez will throw his simulated game while Oliver Perez makes his scheduled trip to Winter Haven. Thursday's start would have been Martinez's first of the spring, and his first Grapefruit League appearance since 2006. He missed all but four weeks of last season recovering from rotator cuff surgery on his pitching shoulder.
This delay, unlike that delay, was not due to injury, but Martinez was still willing to take the blame.
"I'm El Nino," Martinez yelled, walking through the clubhouse tunnel at Space Coast Stadium and taking claim for the rain. "Big phenomenon. Once every 10 years, El Nino comes."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.