Port St. Lucie, FL (Sports Network) - New York Mets righthander Pedro Martinez was scratched from his scheduled start Friday against the Florida Marlins with stiffness in his lower back. The Mets, though, are not overly concerned and said Martinez is still expected to make his final start of the spring on either Tuesday or Wednesday.
"It's not a big deal," manager Willie Randolph said. "We're just trying to get all our guys ready for the season. If a player says he's not feeling right going into a spring training game, then I'm not going to play him. Any time a pitcher has back stiffness or soreness, there's no decision to be made. It's a no-brainer, and we're not going to leave it up to the pitcher."
Highly touted prospect Yusmeiro Petit was expected to start in Martinez's place.
Martinez, who was scheduled to have his back X-rayed on Friday, is 1-0 with a 1.64 earned run average in 11 innings over three outings this spring. The 33- year-old hurler, though, has already had two starts rained out this spring.
"From watching Pedro pitch this spring, I just wish he had more innings," Randolph said. "But I'm not upset about this or anything like that."
Martinez first began feeling stiff following his five-inning outing against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday, which was his longest appearance this spring. He has had his back wrapped all week.
New York lost starter Steve Trachsel earlier this spring with a back injury, which could sideline him for the season.