Bright House Field

The Rehabilitation Destination

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- For Pedro Martinez, the path back to the Major Leagues started in rain soaked Clearwater, Fla., Sunday. In a game promoted as "Wet N' Wacky Day" at Bright House Field, fans and players were pelted by the ultimate water gun -- a Florida summer thunderstorm.

After a fist pump for Threshers' mascot "Phinley", a hop over the third base line and a quick prayer for his late father (on Father's Day in the Dominican Republic) behind the mound, Martinez took the mound for his first appearance in a competitive game since he pitched six scoreless innings over two appearances for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic in March.

Martinez, 37, was scheduled to throw 80 pitches for the Clearwater Threshers against the St. Lucie Mets on Sunday.

Martinez only managed to pitch 1.1 innings and threw 24 pitches before a thunderstorm cancelled the game in the top of the second inning.

"I'm satisfied. I'm not going to go against Mother Nature," Martinez said.

He finished the afternoon in an indoor batting cage where he threw three 20-pitch innings against live batters in a simulated environment.

I feel good. I feel really really good. I still feel really fresh," Martinez said after his 84-pitch afternoon.

In the first inning, after hitting the third batter faced and surrendering a single to Mets right fielder Carlos Guzman, Martinez got out of a two-out jam with a strikeout using his changeup that impressed his manager.

"He did throw one real good changeup on that strikeout," Threshers Manager Ernie Whitt said.

Martinez's changeup was clocked at 76 mph while his fastball ranged between 88-92 mph.

"I didn't want to make it easy for the kids," Martinez said. "This wasn't a normal rehab start when you're coming off an injury. I wanted to get them out."

With a 2-1 count on Mets third baseman Zach Lutz in the top of the second, umpires called for the tarp to be rolled onto the water logged field before lightning began to illuminate the stormy Florida sky.

"You're in Florida. You can't control the weather. That's for sure," Whitt said.

During his brief stint on the mound for the Threshers, Martinez threw 14 strikes and 10 balls, hit a batter and surrendered one hit.

After his pitching session in the batting cages, Martinez spoke with the media at a makeshift press conference in the press lunch room next to an electrical closet. He began his press conference serenading the assembled press with the chorus line from "Blame it on the Rain."

Martinez, who signed a one-year contract with the Phillies on July 15, threw 64 pitches in a simulated game in Clearwater six days later. He is scheduled to throw a normal bullpen session in Lehigh Valley, Pa., on Tuesday and could make his second rehab start on Friday.

The next time Martinez faces a team with Mets written across their jerseys he hopes it is against his former team in a Major League park.

"I love everybody on the Mets, but let it be known that I'm going to try to do my job the best way possible," Martinez said. "If that takes beating the Mets badly, I'm going to do that."

On the Farm

Phillies outfield prospect Dominic Brown, who has been at the center of the trade discussions involving Roy Halladay, hit an infield single and scored a run in his only at bat of the game.

The Blue Jays had one scout in the press box to watch Brown who said he was avoiding the trade rumors.

"I can't do anything. I'm not going to stress myself out about anything. I'm just going to go out there and play my game," Brown said.

Brown said he was excited to play behind Martinez who he said is a future Hall of Famer.

"We're a pretty laid back team, but I know we're going to come out with some fire. Hopefully we can swing the bats pretty good and get a win for him," Brown said in the clubhouse before the game.

The Threshers were leading the Mets 2-0 when the game was cancelled.

Story published on the Web site for 950 ESPN Philadelphia.