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Pedro tosses in 'pen after canceled start

Pedro tosses in 'pen after canceled start

CLEARWATER -- His changeup had snapped with that familiar, biting break, and Pedro Martinez was just starting to feel like himself again.

Then the rains came.

Martinez's first rehab start as a member of the Phillies organization lasted just 1 1/3 innings, as Class A Clearwater's game with St. Lucie was called partly through the second inning due to weather. He threw 24 pitches -- 14 for strikes -- allowed one hit, one hit batter, and struck out one on a vintage changeup to end the first and drew a large ovation from the crowd that came to Bright House Field to see him.

It was a solid first step in the comeback tour for the 37-year-old Martinez, who last pitched in the Major Leagues 10 months ago and is looking to bury the perception that his Hall of Fame career is over.

On Sunday, in an ironic premiere against his former organization, Mother Nature halted play just as Martinez said he felt he was reaching a groove.

"I feel good, that's the main news here," Martinez said. "I feel really, really good."

Martinez, who is on the 15-day disabled list, threw an additional 60 pitches in a bullpen session immediately afterward. He is scheduled to fly north and throw a side session in Lehigh, Pa., on Tuesday.

He retired the first two batters he faced on flyouts, then hit a batter with a cutter and allowed a bloop base hit before striking out Mets first baseman Stefan Welch on a trademark changeup. He threw 20 pitches in the first inning, and was four pitches into the second before the downpour began.

"I was pacing myself in that first inning," said Martinez, who's fastball velocity ranged from 88-90 mph. "You normally settle down after the first inning. And that second inning, I felt better. I wanted that second inning to keep going."

It must have been slightly bizarre for Martinez to find himself on the mound facing jerseys similar to the one he wore for four years. Martinez signed a one-year deal with Philadelphia on July 14 after spending four years with their National League East rivals, the Mets, finishing 8-7 with a 4.99 ERA in 25 starts in 2008.

The irony wasn't lost on the three-time Cy Young winner, either.

"It's interesting, it's really interesting," Martinez said, smiling. "My first rehab outing happens to be against the Mets' [affiliate]."

On Tuesday, Martinez threw 64 pitches in a simulated game in front of Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. in Clearwater. He will likely throw two more starts in the Minor Leagues before being ready to join the club, as rumors swirl about Philadelphia adding another starter to its rotation before the approaching Trade Deadline.

The one they have waiting in the wings, though, was all smiles in his postgame press conference. He even jokingly offered to sing the media a song before he started.

The selection? "Blame it on the rain".

"I wanted to pitch today," Martinez said. "I wanted to go after those kids. I know they might not be experienced like a big league hitter. But I wanted to approach them like they were. And I didn't have enough time to do it."

Zach Schonbrun is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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