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'Persistent pain'

Pedro unlikely to be ready until Game 5

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Posted: Friday October 08, 1999 07:16 AM

  Boston was leading Cleveland 2-0 in Game 1 when Pedro Martinez was forced to leave the game in the fourth inning. AP

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Take your time, Pedro. You may have the whole offseason to rest your injured back.

Pedro Martinez, hurt in Wednesday night's opening-game loss to the Indians, plans to throw again Saturday. But unless his brother Ramon starts Boston to a win that day, the best-of-5 division series -- and the Red Sox' season -- will be over.

Since Pedro probably wouldn't pitch in Game 4, if there is one on Sunday, Boston would have to win then to force a fifth game in Cleveland on Monday night. If Pedro is healthy, he could pitch then.

His absence and the Game 1 loss may have affected Game 2 starter Bret Saberhagen in Thursday's 11-1 loss.

"The situation that we're in, down 1-0 coming into this game, Pedro's arm is bothering him -- didn't want to go home 0-2," Saberhagen said.

Physically, at least, baseball's best pitcher felt a little better Thursday.

"There is slight improvement today, but he does have persistent pain," said Dr. William Morgan, one of Boston's team physicians. "His condition status is day to day."

The Red Sox counted heavily on Martinez, the shoo-in for the AL Cy Young award, to win the opener. He led 2-0 when he left after being hurt in the fourth inning and Boston went on to lose 3-2.

"We've never scheduled him or anticipated him to be available for Game 4, so it's not really an issue," general manager Dan Duquette said before Thursday's game. Manager Jimy Williams, though, didn't rule that out.

Martinez was treated Thursday with ultrasound and anti-inflammatory medication.

"You have to let it calm down a couple of days and possibly let him play catch on Saturday," pitching coach Joe Kerrigan said. "That's the doctor's advice."

Morgan said Martinez will start stretching Friday and be re-evaluated.

"I have some improvement," Martinez said in a statement issued by the team. "I feel better already. I really feel positive about it. Right now I feel looser. In a few hours after treatment, I'm hoping to even feel better."

The Red Sox hope he's right. Martinez was virtually unhittable late in the season and finished with a 23-4 record, a major league best 2.07 ERA and an AL-high 313 strikeouts.

"You don't like to see one of your starters, premier starters, go down, but that is why you have a team," Williams said. "You have other good pitchers. They have won games."

But not nearly as many as Martinez. Saberhagen was second on the team with wins and he had only 10.

Martinez said he strained a muscle below his right shoulder blade on his strikeout pitch to Jim Thome, who led off the fourth. He retired the side in order, then told Kerrigan his back hurt. Williams brought in reliever Derek Lowe.

Martinez "doesn't like to come out of games," Williams said. "So when I hear that, you just make a decision on who's going to come in and pitch."

Could the temperature, 49 degrees at game time, have contributed to the injury?

"We were concerned going into the series about the cold," Duquette said. "Pedro's from a warm-weather climate and he thrives in the warm weather, and that's always a concern when you get into October."


 
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