Pedro Martínez likely will join the growing list of players who will miss next month's World Baseball Classic, with the Mets righthander's toe injury keeping him out of at least the first round of the tournament and maybe the entire event.
''Our understanding is that Pedro, very frankly, is doubtful," said union chief Gene Orza. ''It's still possible he will play, but I think it's at best 50-50 right now."
Martínez still hasn't pitched off a mound this spring.
The Dominicans also will be without Rangers closer Francisco Cordero, who has a sore shoulder.
''I'm really disappointed," Cordero said in Surprise, Ariz. ''I've been waiting as long as I could to make the decision, but my shoulder just doesn't feel right."
Cordero has been limited to throwing off flat ground. He threw for eight minutes Wednesday and said the pain was lingering.
''I'm not a fast starter in spring training, and I need to be careful," Cordero said. ''I want the Dominican Republic to win as much as anybody back home, but I also want to be able to help the team."
Nationals second baseman Jose Vidro also dropped out, saying he won't play for Puerto Rico.
''My past two years have been injury-plagued," he said in Viera, Fla. ''This spring training is very important for me."
Also, Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang said he has decided not to pitch for Taiwan. He spent time on the disabled list last year with a shoulder injury.
In addition to the player defections, Panama lost its manager as Roberto Kelly quit, complaining he didn't get enough support from local baseball officials.
''I can't work with the federation in the way it's being run," Kelly said in a radio interview. He was with the San Francisco Giants spring training camp in Arizona, where he is an instructor.
''If they don't give us the backing we deserve as manager, we don't have any reason to be in charge of the team," Kelly said.
He was replaced by Anibal Reluz, a veteran of the local league.
''I think the guys were pretty much teasing him saying he should have did that last year," said Damon. ''He's the best. I thought he threw the ball well. It was good to see the best right out the chute. I know exactly what I need to work on. Get my timing down. It was a good day."
Johnson threw 49 pitches during an eight-minute session against Damon, Derek Jeter, Gary Sheffield, and Wil Nieves. The Big Unit also had a couple pitches that moved Jeter off the plate.
''They're my teammates," Johnson said. ''They're safe . . . some of them, anyway."
''He's throwing hard," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. ''He had a couple that were really close shaves. But Randy was good."