Thursday is the day Mets fans have been waiting for since the end of last year. Why? Because Pedro Martinez is scheduled to pitch. I had the chance to see him several times during spring training, and while his velocity is down, he’s still the same Pedro. His location is great, and he knows how to set up hitters as well as anyone in the game. Add in the fact that he’s still an intimidating pitcher, despite not having a mid-to-high-90s-fastball, and he’s definitely a guy who’d be the staff ace on most teams.
The only thing that worries me about Martinez is his tender right big toe. After talking to several pitchers, I now realize how important having healthy feet are to a pitcher. Toe injuries can be devastating to a pitcher for two reasons. First, it can affect the mental part of the game and a pitcher’s control because he’s constantly thinking about the pain. Second, power pitchers rely heavily on their lower bodies to throw hard. Not having a fully healthy lower body means he’ll have to throw more with his arm, and that could possibly lead to more arm injuries.
Hopefully, the new shoe that Martinez is wearing will be good enough to let him pitch without pain. If so, this Mets team will have a guy who should lead them to a lot of victories this season.