Martinez meets the Mets

NEW YORK – After helping the Boston Red Sox win their first title in 86 years, Pedro Martinez will try to lead the New York Mets to their first championship since 1986.

Martinez was introduced at Shea Stadium on Thursday, a day after he passed his physical and the Mets finalized his $53 million, four-year contract.

‘It was more of a commitment from this team than it was money, actually,’ Martinez said. ‘I gave Boston every opportunity to actually get me.’

Martinez turned down a $40.5 million, three-year offer from the Red Sox and told his agent on Monday to work out a deal with New York.

‘Boston wouldn’t pull the trigger,’ he said. ‘Why did they have to wait until the last minute or so?’

Martinez, a 33-year-old Dominican right-hander, has had shoulder problems at times but he passed the physical conducted Wednesday in New York.

‘This is an exciting day for the New York Mets family,’ general manager Omar Minaya said. ‘I am going to go to war with Pedro Martinez on my team.’

During parts of his seven seasons in Boston, Martinez often was allowed to arrive at the ballpark later than other players and to take extended vacations during the All-Star break. New Mets manager Willie Randolph plans to speak with Martinez about rules.

‘You don’t have a lot of rules, but there are certain things that everyone has to abide by,’ Randolph said on Wednesday. ‘You can’t have a different set of rules for different people.’

Willie Randolph played with Martinez’s older brother, Ramon, with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Randolph remembered Pedro as a young kid coming up in the Los Angeles organization.

‘Willie, I know a lot of people might try to confuse you with a lot of things,’ Martinez said.

In response to question in Spanish, he answered in Spanish:

‘Pedro Martinez is an employee who takes pride in his work,’ he said. ‘Pedro Martinez is a man of his word.’

Martinez went 16-9 with a career-high 3.90 ERA last season, when the Red Sox won their first World Series title since 1918, and was 117-37 in seven years with Boston.

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