Pedro optimistic about return date

Pedro optimistic about return date

NEW YORK -- One day after Mets general manager Omar Minaya suggested Pedro Martinez might not return to active duty until late May or early June, Martinez was quoted as having said his recovery may be shorter instead of longer.

Assigned to the disabled list since the third day of the season because of a strained left hamstring, Martinez spoke optimistically about returning ahead of almost any schedule the Mets have discussed publicly during a television interview in the Dominican that subsequently was reported by ESPNdeportes.com.

"I am surprised with the way I am recovering," Martinez was quoted as saying. "It's going much faster than I thought. Everything is moving smoothly. The Mets know that I'm working and that I will not abandon them. I don't want it to be a long wait like everybody thinks."

Minaya said Tuesday that the 36-year-old pitcher would need another two to four weeks before he could resume pitching at some level -- not in the big leagues -- and went so far as to correct reporters who initially had put Martinez's return date at a point between the first and third weeks of May. However, those reports had been based solely on the prognosis the club announced April 2, the day after the injury.

Manager Willie Randolph said three days after the injury that he expected his No. 2 starter to be unavailable to pitch in the big leagues for eight weeks.

Estimates of when Martinez would return from his October 2006 shoulder surgery also varied widely last summer. His return happened Sept. 3, a month later than some published speculation and some less-than-specific updates provided by the club.

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