Life-long Wayne Gretzky fan Jose Lima rejoices over his new practice jersey.

Because it is never too early to panic in Port St. Lucie, the New York Daily News’ John Harper raises the spectre of Pedro Martinez’ toe woes being far worse than the Mets presumed over the winter.

Under any circumstances, Minaya took something of a gamble this winter by trading two important starting pitchers, Jae Seo and Kris Benson, for relief help. That gamble just seems considerably riskier if you knew that your ace had an injury that three or four months of rest didn’t seem to be helping.

Minaya says the Mets communicated regularly with Pedro during the winter. Apparently they were aware that he wasn’t doing much throwing because the injury continued to cause him pain. Surely they were aware this toe problem first surfaced a couple of years ago, requiring cortisone shots while Pedro was pitching for the Red Sox.

You’d think that would have been cause to hold onto at least one of those starters, either Seo or Benson, until the toe was proven to be either a nonissue or yet another reason to believe something always goes wrong for the Mets.