BOSTON (AP) -- As Pedro Martinez walked in from the bullpen before Saturday's game, fans behind Boston's dugout rose and gave the Red Sox star an ovation. Little did they know that Martinez and pitching coach Joe Kerrigan, walking beside him, had little to cheer about.
Martinez had trouble getting loose in the bullpen, and Kerrigan indicated there was a chance the right-hander wasn't going to start the game against the Philadelphia Phillies.
''He played catch two days ago with me and was feeling a little stiff,'' Kerrigan said. ''On the way in (from the bullpen), we talked about going the first inning to see how it goes.''
But after Boston's 5-2 loss, there was concern about when Martinez (7-2) will pitch again.
Dr. Bill Morgan, the team physician, issued a statement, saying that ''as far as the medical staff is aware, based on Pedro's communication with the medical staff, he's fine.''
But Morgan also said the oblique muscle in Martinez's left side ''has been a continual problem that he's adjusted to over the past several years.''
Martinez allowed five runs in seven-plus innings Saturday, and his major league-best ERA rose from 1.66 to 2.01, the first time since the end of the 1999 season that it's been over 2.00.
''We know at this time of year is when he had trouble last year,'' Kerrigan said. ''On June 3 in Philadelphia he missed a start and three starts later he went on the disabled list. We'll have to see how it is in a couple of days.''
In 1999, Martinez went on the disabled list with a sore right shoulder on July 24.
He used more breaking balls than usual Saturday but pitched very well for seven innings, allowing one run and two hits. But he gave up four runs in the eighth.
''I think he warmed up not feeling great,'' Boston catcher Scott Hatteberg said. ''You're going to have to ask him.''
But Martinez, who almost always lingers long enough after games to talk to reporters, left early without talking.
''It just took a little while longer to get loose,'' Red Sox manager Jimy Williams said. ''I don't know'' if something's wrong.
Martinez did change his customary pitch selection. He used more offspeed pitches than usual and, when he did go to his fastball, it wasn't as effective as normal.
''I think they hit his fastball a lot more when he tried to rear back,'' Hatteberg said. ''That's why we were using more breaking balls. I don't know if it was his oblique (muscle) or his shoulder'' that made it difficult for him to get loose.
The Red Sox already are hurting. Catcher Jason Varitek is expected to be sidelined 2-to-3 months with a broken right elbow. And shortstop Nomar Garciaparra isn't expected back before the All-Star Game as he recovers from right-wrist surgery.
But Boston's starting pitching got a boost from David Cone, who allowed one run in six innings in Friday night's 3-2 win over the Phillies as he continued his comeback from his worst season in 2000 and shoulder problems this year.
Peninsula Clarion ©2013. All Rights Reserved.