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Minaya may be looking at Pedro

Minaya may be looking at Pedro

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A report out of the Dominican Republic on Wednesday says Mets general manager Omar Minaya has expressed interest in re-signing Pedro Martinez. The report by The Associated Press cites no source and seems to represent a complete change of heart by the Mets, who had indicated repeatedly re-siging Martinez was unlikely.

However, a person familiar with the Mets' activities confirmed Minaya met with Martinez in the pitcher's homeland on Wednesday. He said no offer had been made to the 37-year-old pitcher, whose four-year, $53 million contract with the Mets expired after last season.

Re-signing Martinez, that person said, remained "a long shot," but he also indicated that the club intends to begin the season certain it will have sufficient starting pitching depth "so we have five competitive pitchers available all year."

With less than three weeks before the begining of training camp, the Mets still have a vacancy in their rotation. They still are pursuing Oliver Perez -- like Martinez, a free agent. And they have stayed in contact with left-handed veteran Randy Wolf, also a free agent.

At this point, the Mets' plan is to have Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey and John Maine in the rotation and to fill the other two slots with some combination of Tim Redding, Freddy Garcia (signed to a Minor League contract), rookie Jon Niese and at least one more pitcher with extensive big league experience.

There was no indication in the report or from the Mets whether signing Perez, Wolf or Martinez would preclude the signing of another one of the three.

Martinez had been in New York in the past two weeks and had met with a representative of the Mets. The report used this phrasing: "Minaya said Martinez and his agent have been told the Mets are still interested" in bringing back the pitcher whose signing after the 2004 season signaled a reversal of fortune for the club.

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Martinez played a limited role with the Mets since late in the 2006 season when he tore his right rotator cuff -- it required surgery in October '06 -- and pulled muscles in both calves.

He produced a 5-6 record and a 5.61 ERA last season in 20 starts and 109 innings. The sub-.500 winning percentage was Martinez's first since 1992, when he lost his lone decision as a rookie. The ERA was his highest by more than a run. And his average innings per start -- merely 5.45 -- contributed to the Mets' heavy reliance on the bullpen.

The report also said Martinez had said over the weekend that he hadn't received offers from any Major League club.

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

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