Inside Pitch: Pedro rusty, but ready
New York Mets' Pedro Martinez delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Washington Nationals, Thursday April 6, 2006, at New York's Shea Stadium. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
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Posted Apr 7, 2006


Three weeks ago, many considered it a long shot Pedro Martinez would make his first start of the season, let alone throw six innings on a chilly night to do so.

Martinez did just that Thursday to lead the Mets to a 10-5 win over the Nationals at Shea Stadium, but it doesn't mean he's regained his Cy Young Award form.

Martinez was limited to seven innings during spring training while rehabbing a toe injury. He knew his command wouldn't be sharp right away.

In six innings, Martinez gave up five runs on four hits and five walks. He hit three batters.

"I felt great, but I'm not pitching right now," Martinez said. "I'm throwing right now. It will take time."

Martinez has a reputation for going inside, but the three hit batters were more indicative of wildness than headhunting, he said, emphasizing he wasn't going after Jose Guillen, who was plunked twice.

"I know he was upset, that wasn't my intention," Martinez said of the incident in the fifth when after he hit Guillen a second time, the Nationals outfielder tried to go out to the mound but was restrained by catcher Paul Lo Duca.

REPLAY: Carlos Beltran's first homer of the season helped the Mets beat the Nationals 10-5 Thursday night, but what happened in the aftermath could have a greater impact on the team this summer.

Beltran, who struggled last season in the first year of his $119 million contract, was booed on Opening Day after going 0-for-4, and initially he didn't want to take a curtain call. However, after prodding from veteran Julio Franco, Beltran took a brief bow.

Franco, 47, the oldest player in the major leagues, knows enough that it doesn't pay to make an enemy of the crowd, and the prudent thing is for Beltran to accept the cheers when they come.

NOTES, QUOTES

  • Mets pitchers hit six Washington hitters in their three-game series. "Pitching inside is part of the game," manager Willie Randolph said.

  • RF Xavier Nady has seven hits after three games.

  • 1B Carlos Delgado was hitless on Opening Day, but he homered in the next two games.

  • RHP Pedro Martinez was rusty in his first start of the season, giving up five runs in six innings. Control was an issue, with four walks, three hit batters and a throwing error.

  • RHP Victor Zambrano had a successful throwing session Thursday and is still on to make his first start of the season Sunday against Florida.

    Zambrano was scratched from his first start on Wednesday with a tight left hamstring.

  • The Mets announced design plans for a new stadium scheduled to open in 2009. The Mets will pay $550 million toward the 45,000-seat stadium with an outside facade to resemble that of Ebbets Field.

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