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 SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) -Pedro Martinez is encouraged by his recovery from rotator cuff surgery and confident that he'll return to the New York Mets for the second half of this season.
``I am super excited with how things are progressing. I feel as good as I did in 1996 and 1997,'' the 35-year-old ace told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
That would be good news for the Mets: In 1997 with Montreal, he led the league with a 1.90 ERA, 305 strikeouts and 13 complete games and won the NL Cy Young Award.
Martinez, who was visiting his native Dominican Republic for a charity event, expects to return to the Mets' training facility in Florida on Sunday.
``I haven't felt any pain during rehabilitation and I think that in a month I'll be throwing from the mound and then do a short rehabilitation in the minors,'' he said.
But the three-time Cy Young Award winner has no illusions that the surgery will prolong a career in which he has posted a 206-92 record with a 2.81 ERA and 2,998 strikeouts. Last season, he was 9-8 with a 4.48 ERA.
``The rehabilitation isn't going to extend my career, but it is going to make things much more comfortable,'' he said.

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