Pedro proclaims himself ready for Opening Day

Pedro Martinez threw 83 pitches in an intrasquad game Tuesday, his final tune-up start before Monday's season opener against the Cincinnati Reds.

Pitching against a lineup consisting of mostly Mets minor leaguers, Martinez coasted through five innings, allowing a run and three hits with eight strikeouts and two walks.

After the outing, Martinez stepped right into midseason form, dismissing an inquiry if he had proved himself to manager Willie Randolph.

"If you were my manager, would you have me proving anything?" Martinez quipped to reporters. "Would you feel like I have to prove anything? OK, then. I don't have anything to prove."

Fearing that Martinez's back could stiffen up on an hour-plus bus ride to Viera, Fla., where the Mets edged the Washington Nationals 4-3, the ace was spared the trip. He and Victor Zambrano faced off in the intrasquad game, with Zambrano continuing an awful spring by allowing five runs and 11 hits in a 96-pitch outing.

Zambrano's final spring start is slated for Sunday at Washington's RFK Stadium against the Nationals.

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