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Martínez toes the line

Hampered by a painful foot injury since last season, three-time Cy Young Award winner Pedro Martínez threw on flat ground again yesterday wearing a special shoe designed to alleviate the persistent discomfort in his right big toe.

With Mets trainer Ray Ramírez, pitching coach Rick Peterson, and bullpen coach Guy Conti watching closely, Martínez, who reported to spring training Tuesday -- early for the second straight year -- played catch and long toss at Port Lucie, Fla.

The righthander hasn't thrown off a mound since September because of his ailing toe, which caused him to miss his final two scheduled starts last year .

''It's all right. It's coming along," Martínez said.

The injury makes it painful for Martínez to bend his big toe as he pushes off the pitching rubber with his right foot. After aggravating his toe while working out, he said he went 10 days this month without running or throwing a baseball at all.

There is no timetable for when Martínez might throw off a mound. ''He'll be ready when he's ready. He's been highly successful, and successful people make good decisions," Peterson said. ''He won't force the issue."

Giants look to Schmidt

The San Francisco Giants exercised their $10.5 million option on righthander Jason Schmidt, hopeful the injuries that limited him to reduced velocity and 12 victories last year are gone.

Schmidt, 89-40 in four-plus seasons with the Giants, hopes so, too. He stepped up his winter workout regimen in preparation for a fresh start, but offered no guarantee he would be the hard thrower of old.

''I was pitching 80 percent, and that's not easy to do," he said. ''We'll get out there and see if it's back. If it's not, I'm in better shape now to deal with things. Mentally, I've already dealt with it once. We all have stuff we go through."

Roberts gets $3 million

Second baseman Brian Roberts and the Baltimore Orioles avoided arbitration by agreeing to terms on a one-year contract worth a little more than $3 million. Roberts, who enjoyed a breakthrough season last year, reaching career highs in batting average (.314), home runs (18), and RBIs (73), asked for $3.6 million, and the Orioles countered with an offer of $2.4 million . . . Kerry Wood will let his surgically repaired shoulder tell him when he's ready to pitch for the Chicago Cubs. ''I don't even have a date when I'm going to get on the mound and throw," Wood said from Mesa, Ariz. . . . Scott Erickson agreed to a minor league contract with the Yankees after throwing off a mound for manager Joe Torre and coaches Ron Guidry and Joe Kerrigan in Tampa . . . The Tampa Bay Devil Rays won their salary arbitration case against backup catcher Josh Paul, who will get $475,000 rather than his request for $750,000 . . . Shortstop Jhonny Peralta agreed to a one-year contract with the Indians after hitting .292 with 24 homers and 78 RBIs in 2005, his first season in the majors . . . Oklahoma's lieutenant governor has talked to the Florida Marlins about the team moving to Oklahoma City. ''It's all very preliminary, but I have received some good feedback from the Marlins," Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin said. Marlins owner Jeff Loria once owned the old Oklahoma City 89ers Triple A team.

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