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Posted: Wednesday April 15, 2009 12:15PM; Updated: Wednesday April 15, 2009 5:32PM
Jon Heyman Jon Heyman >
DAILY SCOOP

Mets struggling early (cont.)

Pedro's already in demand

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Alex Rodriguez began post-hip surgery rehabilitation work this week.
Alex Rodriguez began post-hip surgery rehabilitation work this week.
AP
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Free-agent pitcher Pedro Martinez has fielded calls from several teams in the 10 days since the season began, which is no surprise considering the pitching woes many teams have already experienced.

But Martinez remains in Santo Domingo, working out every day and waiting for the right call. Though friends say it isn't only about money, he's thought to be waiting for a $5 million-plus call.

"He's very patient,'' his longtime agent Fern Cuza said.

The Dodgers (who placed Hiroki Kuroda on the disabled list) and Indians (who have experienced steep first-week pitching problems) would appear to be prime candidates to sign Martinez. Other possibilities include the Phillies, Brewers, Pirates, Diamondbacks and Mets. The Orange County Register reported Cuza also called the Angels. There have been no serious talks with the Phillies or Angels to this point, but they are among the contending teams with pitching concerns.

Around the majors

• No surprise, Alex Rodriguez's first public words since undergoing hip surgery (he may undergo a more extensive procedure in October or November, depending on how he fares and on the Yankees' schedule) reflected his desire to concentrate on baseball and cut down on distractions. That's exactly what Hank and Hal Steinbrenner and GM Brian Cashman suggested he do during tough-love talks right after SI broke the story that Rodriguez failed MLB's 2003 survey test for steroids. But distraction or not, the Yankees are now 25-29 when Rodriguez doesn't start, compared to 455-309 when he does, according to Danny Knobler of CBSsports.com.

Manny Ramirez's interesting ruminations to USA Today about wanting to finish his career in Cleveland can't be taken seriously. First off, he loves L.A. Second, he left Cleveland a long time ago because it couldn't afford him, and that hasn't changed.

Lastings Milledge, who failed to live up to his first name when he became the first player demoted this season, deserved the assignment to Triple A. Hard to say whether he was worse offensively or defensively for Washington.

• Of course, Milledge's demotion doesn't solve the Nats' true problem, which is having too many corner outfielders and not enough proven pitchers. Reached by phone, Nats president Stan Kasten very colorfully said he felt good about the direction his team was headed going into the season, and isn't about to let one week spoil his optimism. I am optimistic as well. I don't believe the Nats will go 0-162.

• I guess there'll be no sophomore jinx for Evan Longoria, huh?

B.J. Upton is as good as it gets in center field.

• The Phillies look smart for locking up Ryan Madson, who's perfect so far (no runs, hits or walks through four innings).

Nick Swisher has not only been the Yankees' best hitter (four home runs in 23 at-bats, 1.150 slugging percentage), he's been their best pitcher (0.00 ERA).

• The Yankees are genuinely worried about Chien-Ming Wang (28.93 ERA), who's been the worst of all the struggling aces.

• So far Zach Duke looks like the 2009 version of Cliff Lee.

• I feel sorry for Lance Berkman, who must be lonely as a hitter with Houston.

• It takes a lot to make Bobby Abreu mad. So I have to assume that MLB was correct in giving Josh Beckett that six-game (one start) suspension for throwing at Abreu's head.

• Neither Heath Bell nor Duaner Sanchez, both former Mets, expressed any feelings of retribution or revenge after nailing down the Padres' 6-5 victory at Citi Field on Monday night. Which only proves they are two big people.

• No surprise, Tom Seaver tossed a strike when he threw out the first ball at Citi Field and Steve Blass did not at PNC Park (though to be fair, he wasn't that far off).

Mark "The Bird" Fidrych, who died on Monday near his Massachusetts home in a mysterious accident, created more fun with 29 career wins than anyone ever did (he was 29-19 before arm trouble ended his career).

Harry Kalas, one heck of a nice guy in addition to a Phillies broadcasting legend, will be missed.

 
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