Martinez will make just his second start of the season on Tuesday night when the Mets continue a three-game series with the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park.
Martinez (0-0, 10.80 ERA) has not pitched since April 1, when he gave up four runs in 3 1-3 innings against Florida before leaving with a strained left hamstring. The 36-year-old right-hander will probably throw about 90 to 100 pitches in his return, according to manager Willie Randolph.
“About 90 to 100 pitches. Don’t hold me to it. That’s around where he’s going to be,” Randolph said. “It’s going to be a big part of our success this year that Pedro stays healthy. All you can do is hope and pray that happens.”
Martinez, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, also made just five starts in 2007 following his return from offseason rotator cuff surgery on his throwing shoulder.
“What am I going to talk about? I can’t predict the future,” Martinez said when asked about his return. “Tomorrow after the game there will be plenty of news.
“Am I ready? Am I nervous? It’s a little too late to ask that. It’s totally different coming off an arm injury and not knowing what to expect rather than worrying about a hamstring pull.”
Martinez draws a good opponent for his first game back. He is 9-2 with a 3.59 ERA in 19 career appearances - including 14 starts - against the Giants (25-33) and has won four straight decisions against them since a loss on June 2, 1996.
However, he is facing San Francisco for the first time since June 19, 2004 while with Boston, when he went six innings and gave up four runs without a decision, and for just the second time since 1997.
“There is some unknown there in the fact that he hasn’t pitched in a while,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
The Mets (28-28) are hoping Martinez’s return will give them a jolt after a sluggish effort in Monday’s series-opening, 10-2 loss. Starter Oliver Perez recorded just one out as the Giants scored six runs in the first inning.
New York didn’t arrive in the Bay Area until 4:30 a.m. Monday morning after Sunday’s 6-1 home win - the team’s fifth in six games.
The Giants, meanwhile, matched their biggest inning of the season in their eighth win in 12 games. Brian Horwitz hit his first major league homer, Randy Winn added a leadoff drive and Bengie Molina had three hits to reach 1,000 for his career.
“It’s been a while,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “That’s a great thing when you can get six in the first. We got some pitches to hit and took advantage of it.”
Now, Barry Zito (1-8, 5.53) will try to lead San Francisco to the series win.
Zito gave up three runs in six innings without a decision in the Giants’ 4-3 win in Arizona on May 29. Zito, who earned his first win six days earlier in Florida, is 1-2 with a 2.49 ERA since spending 10 days in the bullpen - without making a relief appearances - to work on his delivery.
He earned a 7.53 ERA while losing each of his first six starts before that break from the rotation.
“Just getting some good movement on two-seamers, getting ahead in the count a little better, being more aggressive,” Zito told the Giants’ official team Web site.
Zito won both of his previous starts against the Mets - both coming last season - while recording a 2.08 ERA.