Pedro Martinez: Mets COO Jeff Wilpon forced me to pitch while injured
Pedro Martinez writes in his new book, Pedro, that New York Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon forced him to pitch while injured in the 2005 season.
Martinez, whose book was released Monday by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, writes that Wilpon insisted he pitch through a toe injury in a late September game that season when the Mets were already out of the playoff race.
Martinez pitched for the Mets from 2005 to 2008, earning All-Star appearances in each of his first two seasons. In 2005, the Mets finished 83–79, third in the NL East. Martinez went 15–8 with a 2.82 ERA over 31 starts.
From The New York Times, which shared the excerpt:
Martinez writes that his toe was hurt and that manager Willie Randolph had told him he was done for the season. But, he said, Wilpon, now the Mets' chief operating officer, wanted to sell tickets for a matchup against the star Marlins left-hander Dontrelle Willis. Martinez said he protested the order and offered to give back the rest of his contract.
"While I'm the boss here, you're going to have to do what I say," Wilpon said, according to Martinez, who gave in and pitched. He lost the game, which drew 25,093 fans, and said the injury prolonged the toe problem. Other parts of his body broke down the next season, and Martinez was inactive for the Mets' run to Game 7 of the 2006 National League Championship Series.
"I couldn't help but think about how when I was healthy in 2005, our team wasn't that good," Martinez writes. "But as my health declined, I was urged to pitch a meaningless game at the end of 2005 that wound up shortening my recovery time for 2006 and led me to a hospital where doctors performed a three-hour arthroscopic procedure to repair my shoulder."
Martinez later wrote that he did not blame Wilpon for making him pitch. Wilpon, in a statement through a spokesman published by the Times, denied telling Martinez to pitch through the injury.
"Pedro was always a great competitor and deserving of being in the Hall of Fame," the statement said. "This particular excerpt in the book is false as those kinds of decisions have always been put in the hands of our baseball people."
Over his four seasons with the Mets, Martinez went 32–23 with a 3.88 ERA over 79 starts.
Martinez, 43, last pitched in 2009 and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in January.
- Mike Fiammetta