Notes: Surgery on Martinez a success
Conti relays good news from doctor who performed operation
LOS ANGELES -- If Pedro Martinez can avoid injury below the waist, the Mets may have a quite reasonable facsimile of the pitcher they still owe $25.5 million. During the surgery he underwent Thursday to repair his torn rotator cuff, doctors detected no significant damage to any other parts of his right shoulder.
Decades have passed since rotator cuff injuries and the surgery to repair them have put pitchers' careers in jeopardy. But, of course, most of Martinez's problems since 2001 have been "south of the border" as he said in August. And that was before he added a torn muscle in his left calf to the maladies that have beset him since late summer last year -- inflamed toe on his right foot, inflamed right hip and torn muscle in his right calf.
"Well, if we can get past those things -- and I know that's a lot -- and keep away from new ones, he can be the special pitcher he's been," Mets bullpen coach Guy Conti said on Friday.
Martinez's confidante, Conti said he spoke to Dr. David Altchek, the surgeon who repaired the shoulder, and that Altchek was quite encouraged.
"He said they found just what the MRI told them was wrong, and that they were able to clean it up," Conti said. "It's going to take some work on Pedro's part, but he's going to get to it. When we were in the dugout in the first game [of the NLDS], he came up behind me and wrapped his arms around me and said how much he wanted to come back. He said he'd do whatever it takes. And he had the look he gets when he's being challenged."
Conti said Martinez told him he felt something unusual in his shoulder during his start against the Pirates on Sept. 15, his first start after a month-long assignment to the disabled list. It was after that start, after he had allowed four runs in three innings, that Martinez wept in the dugout. But evidently, he told no one -- not even Conti -- about his shoulder. Instead, he made two additional starts.
In each of the three, Martinez appeared to be throwing more sidearm than ever before, a difference several scouts noticed.
After the third start, against the Braves in Atlanta on Sept. 27, Martinez was asked if he had stressed any part of body from favoring the right calf. He said, "I hurt everywhere." The injuries to his left calf and shoulder were diagnosed subsequently.
Does it matter? Greg Maddux has more victories (35) against the Mets than he has against any team. Doesn't this matter anymore? He has started five games against them in the last two seasons, including three this year. His numbers include a 1-1 record and 1.32 ERA in 2005 and a 1-2 record and 7.36 ERA this year.
Shawn Green was back in the starting lineup on Saturday. Does it matter that he entered the game batting .424 with three home runs in 33 career regular-season at-bats against Maddux? His is the third-highest average among active players who have at least 20 plate appearances against Maddux. Green, though, has five singles and two doubles in his last 22 at-bats against Maddux, including his first-inning RBI single.
Does it matter? II: Steve Trachsel's .286 winning percentage against the Dodgers -- he has a 4-10 record in 21 regular-season starts -- is the lowest among active pitchers with at last 10 career decisions against them.
The passing of Buck: The walls of manager Willie Randolph's office at Shea Stadium have a number of framed photographs of players from the Negro Leagues. Some things, though, the Mets manager carries with him, including his memories of the late Buck O'Neil, who died on Friday at 94.
"He was an inspiration to me," Randolph said on Saturday. "I got a chance meet him about six, seven years ago. And just that infectious enthusiasm and attitude towards the game. ... I've always been interested in the story of Negro League baseball and literature that was written that I read over the years. To be able to meet someone that was there, who had been there, was just tremendously inspiring for me. And I'm going to miss him.
"He was always very, very positive with me. He was always rooting for me. As a matter of fact, when I got the job [as Mets manager], he left a voice mail just congratulating me and everything. He goes, 'Oh, hi, Skipper.' And he goes, 'Nice going.' And to this day, I have that on my phone. So every once in a while I'll just play it back when I'm going through my messages, and I'll hear his voice and it means a lot to me.
"So it's a shame that he wasn't voted [into the Hall of Fame]. I think that that would have been icing on the cake for someone like him, who just has been an ambassador for the game. Never really singing the blues about what he's been through and the fact that he was deprived of being a true Major Leaguer in his prime. I'll miss him a lot. He's someone who I will always remember."
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This date in Mets history, Oct. 7: Jon Matlack pitched a two-hit shutout in the Mets' 5-0 victory against the Reds in Game 2 of the 1973 NLCS, tying the series. Andy Kosco had both hits against Matlack, who, in 17 regular-season starts against the Reds, produced a 3-11 record and pitched no shutouts. The Mets scored four runs in the ninth against Tom Hall and Pedro Borbon.
In the only other Mets postseason game on this date, Benny Agbayani hit a walk-off home run against Aaron Fultz with one out in the 13th inning to give the Mets a 2-1 advantage against the Giants in the 2000 NLDS. The Mets' bullpen allowed six baserunners and no runs and struck out 11 in the final six innings of the 3-2 victory. Starter Rick Reed struck out six.
From the minds of Elias: The Elias Sports Bureau often finds distinction where the rest cannot. It may have seemed to the rest of the world that distinction did exist when Tom Glavine opposed Hong-Chih Kuo in Game 2. Glavine was a 290-game winner, and Kuo had one big-league victory -- against the Mets.
Could there have been a postseason starting pitcher matchup with a difference in career victory totals greater than 289? Of course. Just last year in the first game of the World Series, Roger Clemens started for the Astros opposite Jose Contreras of the White Sox. Clemens had 341 career victories at the time, 306 more than Contreras.
But before that matchup, the last postseason difference to exceed 290 was the greatest ever -- 364. The great Walter Johnson had 397 career victories when he opposed Emil Yde of the Pirates in Game 4 of the 1925 World Series. Incidentally, Johnson pitched the Senators to a 4-0 victory.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.