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Sources: Interest in Pedro heating up

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Ken Rosenthal

Ken Rosenthal has been the FOXSports.com's Senior MLB Writer since August 2005. He appears weekly on MLB on FOX, FOX Sports Radio and MLB Network. He's a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter.

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Pedro Martinez could be coming soon to a ballpark near you. Interest in the free-agent right-hander has intensified, according to major-league sources. Martinez will resume throwing off a mound Friday and could make a decision within the next two weeks, one source said.
Angels general manager Tony Reagins told the Los Angeles Times this week that he has contacted the agents for Martinez, but the two sides have not spoken in more than two weeks, according to a source. Mike Rizzo, the Nationals' acting GM, acknowledged to FOXSports.com Thursday that his team had "mild" interest in Martinez. The Rangers have "some" interest, according to a source, but do not expect to be "the leader in the clubhouse." Rizzo said he personally saw Martinez thrown an inning in the Dominican Republic before the World Baseball Classic in March, and that the Nationals scouted Martinez during the WBC. "Unless we got to a point where the price makes sense to us, we're very satisfied with what we've got in our rotation," Rizzo told FOXSports.com. "It's really young, but we think it's got a lot of upside. "That (Martinez) would give us depth at the right number. We've kicked the tires a few times. But it hasn't really gone anywhere past that." Once Martinez picks a team, he likely would begin his comeback in the minors. He pitched twice for the Dominican Republic against the Netherlands in the WBC, working six scoreless innings. Since then, he has been working out regularly in the Dominican, but mostly playing long toss. His return to the mound is a strong indication that he is preparing to return to the majors in the near future. The question with Martinez remains his price — at least $5 million for a one-year deal, sources say. The Dodgers, among other clubs, have maintained that they are not interested in Martinez at that level. Martinez, 37, is looking to join either a contender or a rebuilding club that would want him to lead its staff and serve a mentoring role. He has told some friends that the Yankees are interested, but a team source says, "There is no truth to that — zero. We have no interest." The Indians, who offered Martinez a contract in December, no longer have the financial flexibility to sign him. The Mets, Martinez's previous team, say they are not interested. The Nationals, though, could afford Martinez if he indeed was willing to pitch for a lesser club — and willing to reduce his price. Martinez would be a draw for the Nats, who are 3-11 and struggling to build a fan base. He is well-acquainted with Nationals manager Manny Acta, who managed the Dominican Republic in the first WBC. He also could help the Nationals restore their image in the Dominican. The Nationals have said that former general manager Jim Bowden and special assistant Jose Rijo are subjects of a baseball investigation in the Dominican regarding the skimming of bonus money from amateur signees. The Nats also were involved in an age- and name-changing scandal involving a Dominican prospect, and shut down their academy in the Dominican while restructuring their Latin American operations, according to ESPN.com. Martinez went 5-6 with a 5.61 ERA in 20 starts for the Mets last season, his first full season coming off shoulder surgery. He has worked only 269 2/3 innings over the past three seasons.
Tagged: Nationals, Yankees

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