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 SchmidtThe 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."