WASHINGTON – The New York Mets will be missing ace Pedro Martinez for more than just the postseason.

The Mets right-hander will have rotator cuff surgery next week and be out eight months. The injury is expected to sideline him from any baseball activities until at least June.

Martinez, who turns 35 this month, was already out for the playoffs because of a torn tendon in his left calf.

The Mets said it was not known when or how Martinez hurt himself. He went 9-8 during an injury-filled season that was slowed by ailments to his hip, right calf and toe.

Martinez lasted only 2 2-3 innings at Atlanta on Wednesday as he tried to recover from an injury to his right calf. An MRI exam the next day showed the problem with his other calf, and also revealed the trouble in his rotator cuff.

Martinez got a second opinion, which concurred with the Mets’ reading.

Mets general manager Omar Minaya said he spoke to Martinez. Asked whether the pitcher was considering retirement, Minaya said, “Absolutely not.”

Minus the three-time Cy Young winner, the Mets will have Orlando Hernandez pitch Game 1 and Tom Glavine start Game 2.

It has not yet been determined which team the Mets will play in the first round, or the date of the opener.

Steve Trachsel and John Maine also could start later for the Mets in the best-of-five round.

AP-ES-09-30-06 1727EDT


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