ST. LOUIS -- A deal between Cooperstown-bound pitcher Pedro Martinez and the Phillies "seems inevitable,'' someone familiar with the talks said today.

Martinez could travel to Philadelphia for a physical as early as Tuesday, assuming a deal can be finalized, sources say.

Martinez wanted to sign in time to be ready for the stretch drive for a contending team. His agent, Fern Cuza, said last week he expected a deal by this past weekend, or possibly the end of the All-Star break at the latest.

A report out of the Dominican Republic last week suggested the sides already had a deal for $4 million. If that figure has merit, it's likely to be pro-rated to account for Martinez missing at least the first half of the season, executives with other teams say.

The Phillies were impressed with Martinez's workouts for them on Monday and Friday of last week, sources say, and manager Charlie Manuel said nice things to the Philadelphia media. Martinez, 5-6 with a 5.61 ERA with the rival Mets last season, pitched six scoreless innings for the Dominican Republic team in the World Baseball Classic.

"If he can help us, of course I want him,'' Manuel told the Phillies media. "He's a competitor. He has his own way. He is his own man. I always liked him because he was cocky, had swagger, was determined.''

The Phillies and Rangers appear to have been the hottest pursuers of Pedro in recent days. The Cubs, Rays, Cardinals, Brewers, Diamondbacks, Indians and Pirates all showed varying degrees of interest over the past several months.

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