Mets' Martinez out for playoffs

Published September 29, 2006

ATLANTA - Pedro Martinez's injury-plagued season came to an end - less than a week short of the playoffs.

The Mets learned Thursday that their ace is done for the year with a torn tendon in his left calf muscle.

Instead of pitching Game 1 in next week's NL division series, Martinez will be in the early days of a four- to six-week recovery period. Although surgery won't be necessary, there's no chance of the three-time Cy Young Award winner pitching again in 2006.

"It's going to be sad because he's not here," Julio Franco said after New York's 7-4 victory over Atlanta. "But we have to do it with the guys we've got, like we've been doing it the whole season."

Martinez returned to New York after getting knocked around badly in his final start of the regular season Wednesday, a 13-1 loss to the Braves. An MRI exam showed a tear in the left calf, different from the right calf injury that recently put him on the disabled list for a month.

The Mets won their first NL East title since 1988 with Martinez battling injuries most of the season. He went on the disabled list at midseason with an ailing hip.

"We've had a little bit of a cloud of uncertainty wondering: Is he healthy? What's the rotation? Who's pitching?" left-hander Tom Glavine said. "A lot of that stuff goes away now. We can start focusing on who the guys are who are here, who are going to be able to pitch, who are going to try to help us win. That is going to be helpful for us mentally."

Orlando Hernandez will start Game 1 in the best-of-five division series, and Glavine will go in Game 2.