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Pedro confirms deal with Mets

Posted: Wednesday, December 15, 2004

NEW YORK - Pedro Martinez confirmed Tuesday that he has agreed to join the New York Mets.

''I only hope to honor my contract and to fulfill the expectations,'' Martinez said on television in the Dominican Republic. ''We got what we wanted. The team and I are happy with everything.''

His agent, Fernando Cuza, told the Mets on Monday that he would attempt to work out a deal with them after New York guaranteed a fourth year. The deal for the pitcher who helped Boston win the World Series will be worth more than $50 million.

''The bigger the contract, the bigger the responsibility,'' Martinez said.

Martinez said the sides still must determine the distribution of the money, and that he needs to pass a physical.

New York has not announced the deal, choosing to wait until an agreement is signed and the physical is passed. Martinez had spent the past seven seasons with the Red Sox.

''My heart will always be with the Boston fans. I hope that everyone who truly loves me will still support me now that I won't be with the Red Sox,'' the three-time Cy Young Award winner said.

Martinez rejected a $40.5 million, three-year offer from the Red Sox, and the St. Louis Cardinals offered a four-year deal, a Mets official said Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity. Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty and Cuza didn't return telephone calls seeking comment.

A day after finding out Martinez was leaving Boston, the World Series champions learned they might open next season without Curt Schilling, too. Schilling's right ankle isn't recovering from surgery as quickly as he expected.

''I'm going to be late, I think, starting the season,'' Schilling told WEEI-AM on Tuesday.

Schilling, who had surgery Nov. 9, had a cast removed from the ankle last weekend and learned for the first time that he wouldn't be able to rotate his ankle for four to five weeks. That means he won't be able to resume throwing when he had planned.

''So I'm looking at least another month before I start throwing, which puts me a month behind,'' he said.

David Wells, who finalized an $8 million, two-year contract Tuesday, could be Boston's opening-day starter at Yankee Stadium - where he spent four seasons pitching for New York.

''If that's the situation, give me the ball. I'm ready,'' Wells said. ''I've never turned down a challenge, so why start now?''

Arizona, which had talked to the Yankees about trading Randy Johnson to New York, hasn't given up on dealing the Big Unit.

''What we're prepared to do is to listen to anyone, and there have been other clubs who have expressed interest in Randy,'' managing partner Ken Kendrick said. ''We're going to continue to do that, but it's an ultimate decision - if ever made - that needs we and Randy to get together and discuss it and get his representatives involved. And we're not at that point yet.''

Incoming Diamondbacks chief executive officer Jeff Moorad called Yankees president Randy Levine on Monday, a baseball official said on condition of anonymity. No new proposals were made, the official said.

New York had broken off talks Dec. 1, saying Arizona's asking price was too high.

Other teams pushed ahead with business. Anaheim agreed to a $5 million, one-year contract with pitcher Paul Byrd and traded Ramon Ortiz to Cincinnati for prospect Dustin Moseley in a swap of right-handers.

A day after San Francisco finalized a deal with catcher Mike Matheny, the Giants placed incumbent catcher A.J. Pierzynski on waivers. San Francisco also agreed to a minor league contract with left-hander Jeff Fassero, and St. Louis reached a preliminary agreement on a $600,000, one-year contract with catcher Einar Diaz.

Third baseman Corey Koskie and Toronto finalized their $17 million, three-year deal, second baseman Jose Hernandez and Cleveland completed their $1.8 million, one-year agreement and Arizona announced a one-year deal with shortstop Royce Clayton worth $1.35 million.

Also, first baseman Richie Sexson will have additional medical tests before Seattle finalizes his contract, a baseball official said.

Anaheim added Byrd and remains interested in Matt Clement, who is talking to the Red Sox and other teams,

Byrd, 34, was 8-7 with a 3.94 ERA in 19 starts for Atlanta last season. He began the season on the 60-day disabled list recovering from reconstructive elbow surgery and was activated June 19.

''I felt like last year, I was just trying to piece together the remains of an injured season,'' he said. ''I'm really excited about starting out next year healthy. I really don't remember the last time I've felt this good. It had to be coming out of college. I feel probably better than 100 percent.

''Next year, I want to go out and establish myself as a top pitcher in the American League and just really get a full season in - throw over 200 innings.''

AP Sports Writer Enrique Rojas in the Dominican Republic contributed to this report



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