NEW YORK (AP) -Mets general manager Omar Minaya expects to see Pedro Martinez pitching this season.
``I'm counting on him, yeah,'' Minaya said Tuesday. ``I'm counting on him to help us win games this year.''
Martinez threw 50 pitches Monday in a simulated game against Mets minor leaguers. Minaya said the next step for Martinez would likely be another simulated game, and not a rehab start.
``It's just something that those who are experts in these matters feel is best to do,'' Minaya said. ``We don't want to get specific because it's about how he feels.''
The three-time Cy Young Award winner had been on a planned break since throwing 50 pitches in a simulated game on July 3. The 35-year-old right-hander threw 60 pitches in a bullpen session last Thursday.
He had surgery Oct. 5 to repair a torn rotator cuff, and threw to batters on June 26 for the first time after the operation.
Manager Willie Randolph is more concerned with current members of the Mets' rotation - Tom Glavine, Jorge Sosa, John Maine, Oliver Perez and Orlando Hernandez - than when Martinez could return to the mound.
``I never hear his name brought up in the clubhouse,'' Randolph said. ``We talk about Sosa, Perez, Maine, Glavine.''
Randolph said Martinez would help the Mets ``only if he comes in and pitches as Pedro can pitch.''
Martinez is 24-16 since joining the Mets before the 2005 season, with 345 strikeouts, 86 walks and 3.45 ERA. He led the AL in strikeouts three times with Boston, and is two short of 3,000 for his career.
``We just hope he'll be able to help us win ballgames,'' Randolph said.
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