Martinez leaves Mets to be by his father's side

ATLANTA -- Pedro Martinez returned to the Dominican Republic to be with his sick father on Wednesday, delaying his plans to test his ailing hamstring.

Martinez had planned to rejoin the New York Mets for a bullpen session Wednesday. But after arriving in Atlanta on Wednesday morning from Port St. Lucie, Fla., Martinez learned his father, Pablo Jaime, had experienced a medical setback. Martinez then left to be with his father, Mets spokesman Ethan Wilson said Wednesday.

Jaime, 78, has a form of brain cancer.

Wilson said the team does not know how long Martinez plans to remain in the Dominican Republic.

Mets manager Willie Randolph said the trip to the Dominican Republic may not affect plans for Martinez to return before the end of the month, possibly for a series against the Los Angeles Dodgers from May 29-31.

Randolph said there's no need to make even tentative plans for Martinez until the pitcher learns more about his father's condition.

"This is a family matter he has to deal with," Randolph said.

"He might not skip much of a beat," Randolph said.

Earlier this week, Martinez told the New York Daily News that he was considering retiring after the current season because of his father's illness and to spend more time with his family in the Dominican.

"It's taking a toll on me and my family, my dad's situation," Martinez said, the Daily News reported Tuesday. "I haven't been there for them. I just realized that between last year and this year I haven't been there for my family, my parents."

The three-time Cy Young winner inched closer to a return to the Mets by throwing 4 1/3 innings of a simulated game Monday in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Martinez, 36, has been on the disabled list since April 2 with a strained left hamstring. He said therapy for his leg injury is going well and that he expects to play soon.

"I'm throwing well and working out," he said. "My arm is in great condition and the speed is good, surpassing more than 90 miles an hour."

Martinez told the Daily News that his father's condition was stable but not likely to improve.

"He can't take any more chemo. We're letting him have a nice end of his life. The chemo is not going to help him. If they give him the chemo that might be it," he told the newspaper for Tuesday's report. "They told me there's nothing we can do. He's eventually going to deteriorate."

Martinez was 3-1 with a 2.56 ERA in only five starts last season, after returning in September from surgery on Oct. 5, 2006, to repair his torn right rotator cuff.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.