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Martinez's next start doubtful

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Pedro's next start in doubt


CHICAGO -- The date of Pedro Martinez's next start is still in question after the Mets' pitcher suffered a stomach illness over the All-Star break.


Martinez was with the team in Chicago on Thursday, but manager Willie Randolph said he was unable to throw over the break.


"He had some type of stomach virus or food poisoning or whatever," Randolph said. "He's a little bit weak, he told me, and he hasn't been able to eat much, so when he gets his strength back and gets on the mound, then we'll know how he is."


Randolph said Martinez could pitch in the bullpen on Friday or Saturday, but that will be dictated by how the pitcher feels.


Martinez has missed two starts since giving up six earned runs on eight hits in three innings against the Red Sox on June 28. He was placed on the disabled list after suffering inflammation in his right hip.


Randolph said it will be important for Martinez to build up some stamina before he tries to return.


"More than anything, he's got to build up his volume," Randolph said. "He's been out a while, so you can't just throw him back in there without him having a couple of sides or whatever. So, we'll just play it by ear with him until he feels strong enough to get back on the mound."


Before the break, the Mets expected Martinez to pitch in Wednesday's game at Cincinnati.


After Martinez's illness, those plans are still up in the air. Randolph said if Martinez could not start on Wednesday, he would probably go with Steve Trachsel in his regular turn in the rotation.


Trachsel will pitch the series opener against the Cubs on Friday, followed by Tom Glavine on Saturday and Orlando Hernandez on Sunday.


Rookie Mike Pelfrey will make the second start of his Major League career on Tuesday, as the team opens play at Cinicinnati.


Pelfrey, the ninth overall pick in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, earned his first Major League victory when the Mets beat the Marlins, 17-3, on Saturday. The right-hander gave up three runs -- two earned -- on five hits and four walks, while striking out three in five innings.


"I just need to trust my stuff, make my pitch and not get caught up in making a perfect pitch now that I'm in the big leagues," Pelfrey said.


Neither Pelfrey nor rookie John Maine knew who was going to remain in the starting rotation when they arrived in Chicago.


Randolph decided to go with Pelfrey and move Maine into the bullpen until the team makes a roster move when Martinez returns from the disabled list.


"We're going to keep [Maine] in the bullpen right now," Randolph said. "We can use him as a long guy, and if we need him around to spot start, that can happen too. We're going to keep him around the bullpen and see how he adjusts to that right now, and when Pedro gets back, we'll make some decisions on that."


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