Pedro hits his spots in simulated session

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – Pedro Martinez appeared strong in four simulated innings after Wednesday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals was postponed due to rain, proclaiming himself on track through his spring progression.

Martinez threw approximately 60 pitches in the session, which featured backup catchers Mike Jacobs and Joe Hietpas as a lefty-righty batting duo. Pedro's fastball and curveball were especially crisp in the effort, and the fluid righthander threw strikes with ease.

"I was more pleased with the way things were," Martinez said. "The biggest thing I noticed of all the things I did today was the fact that throwing to lefties and righties, I couldn't really tell the difference. I felt really comfortable."

Martinez wore a long-sleeve undershirt and blew on his hand every second or third pitch through the effort, which felt more like a cold April afternoon rather than a typical spring training day.

Rather than bump his start back a day to Thursday, when the Mets visit Fort Lauderdale to play the Baltimore Orioles, Martinez agreed with pitching coach Rick Peterson's assessment that he should stay on schedule and get his throwing in.

Sometimes, Martinez said, a simulated bullpen session can actually wind up being more productive than the game action in spring training. Opposed by the spring training invitees with jersey numbers like No. 78 or No. 85, Martinez often knows he needs to just rear back and pump three fastballs by the bewildered youngsters, which doesn't really help his development plan.

"Here, you have time to think about what you really want to do," Martinez said. "In the game, you have to give the people what they expect, a good performance."

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