D.J. Short

Philadelphia Phillies v New York Mets

Pedro Martinez says in new book that Mets COO Jeff Wilpon urged him to pitch hurt

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Tyler Kepner of the New York Times has some interesting teasers from Pedro Martinez’s new book, “Pedro,” which is set to be released on Monday. In one of them, Martinez claims that Mets COO Jeff Wilpon urged him to pitch hurt during his first season with the team in 2005.

Martinez writes that his toe was hurt and that Manager Willie Randolph had told him he was done for the season. But, he said, Wilpon, now the Mets’ chief operating officer, wanted to sell tickets for a matchup against the star Marlins left-hander Dontrelle Willis. Martinez said he protested the order and offered to give back the rest of his contract.

“While I’m the boss here, you’re going to have to do what I say,” Wilpon said, according to Martinez, who gave in and pitched. He lost the game, which drew 25,093 fans, and said the injury prolonged the toe problem. Other parts of his body broke down the next season, and Martinez was inactive for the Mets’ run to Game 7 of the 2006 National League Championship Series.

“I couldn’t help but think about how when I was healthy in 2005, our team wasn’t that good,” Martinez writes. “But as my health declined, I was urged to pitch a meaningless game at the end of 2005 that wound up shortening my recovery time for 2006 and led me to a hospital where doctors performed a three-hour arthroscopic procedure to repair my shoulder.”

The Mets were only on the fringes of contention in 2005, but they rode Martinez hard down the stretch despite his nagging injury. He threw 122 pitches in a shutout against the Braves leading up to this particular outing. While he ended up making the start against the Marlins, he was pulled after just 75 pitches and Willie Randolph said after the game that he was “really banged up.” It turned out to be his final start of the season. It’s worth noting that his toe issue dated back to 2004 during his time with the Red Sox and there had long been questions about how long his shoulder would hold up.

Wilpon has denied Martinez’s claim and said that decisions on player health “have always been put in the hands of our baseball people.” He’s not going to get much benefit of the doubt from some Mets fans and others, but Martinez said in an interview that he puts more blame on himself than Wilpon and that he should have listened to his body.

Yasiel Puig expected to go on a minor league rehab assignment next week

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants
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The Dodgers have been scoring plenty of runs without him, but Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports that outfielder Yasiel Puig is expected to go on a minor league rehab assignment next week.

Puig is currently sidelined with a strained left hamstring and is eligible to return on May 10. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said yesterday that “it seems like we’re on track,” so the hope is that he’s ready right around that time.

Puig, 24, was batting .279/380/.465 with two home runs and four RBI through 50 plate appearances prior to going on the DL. Andre Ethier has thrived while filling in and should continue to get at-bats even after Puig returns now that Carl Crawford is out with a oblique tear.

Willie Mays congratulates Alex Rodriguez for reaching 660 career home runs

Alex Rodriguez
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Alex Rodriguez reached 660 career home runs last night with a pinch-hit blast against the Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston, tying Hall of Famer Willie Mays for fourth place on MLB’s all-time list. The Giants released a statement from Mays to congratulate him for the accomplishment:

“Congratulations to Alex Rodriguez on his 660th home run. Milestones in baseball are meant to be broken and I wish him continued success throughout his career.”

You wouldn’t expect anything different from Mays, but this won’t do anything to sway the opinions of those who made their minds up about Rodriguez a long time ago. Anyway, it’s interesting to see the home run referred to as a milestone. Are you listening, Yankees?

Video: Nelson Cruz hit a home run off the train at Minute Maid Park

nelson cruz getty
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Another day, another tape-measure blast from Mariners slugger Nelson Cruz. Check out this home run against the Astros last night. It traveled 469 feet and actually hit the train at the Minute Maid Park.

It’s like he’s playing baseball inside a pinball machine right now. Cruz leads the majors with 11 home runs, 23 RBI, and a 1.125 OPS. So much for those who were expecting his numbers to taper off with the move to Seattle.

Settling the Score: Friday’s results

Cardinals v Pirates
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No Adam Wainwright? No problem. At least for now, anyway. The Cardinals won their fourth straight game last night with a 2-1 victory over the division rival Pirates in 10 innings.

The game went into extras after Mark Reynolds tied the game with an infield single in the seventh. The game-winner was set up after Jon Jay singled and Matt Carpenter doubled against Rob Scahill with two outs in the tenth. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle elected to intentionally walk Matt Holliday to load the bases, but Matt Adams made him pay with an opposite-field single to end it.

A.J. Burnett tossed six scoreless innings in the loss and drove in the only run of the game for the Pirates with an RBI single. He also passed Sandy Koufax on the all-time strikeout list. He’s now at 2,397 for his career, tying him with Kevin Brown for 41st.

The Cardinals currently own the best record in the majors at 16-6. Only the Royals (+48) have a higher run differential than St. Louis (+38).

Your Friday box scores:

Pirates 1, Cardinals 2 (10 innings)

Brewers 0, Cubs 1

Rays 2, Orioles 0

Nationals 0, Mets 4

Blue Jays 4, Indians 9

Phillies 3, Marlins 4

Athletics 7, Rangers 5

Reds 3, Braves 4

Tigers 1, Royals 4

White Sox 0, Twins 1

Diamondbacks 0, Dodgers 8

Mariners 3, Astros 4

Rockies 3, Padres 14

Angels 2, Giants 3