- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 14, 2009

PORT ST. LUCIE, FLA. (AP) - The New York Mets shut down right-hander Tim Redding on Saturday, citing soreness and a lack of strength in his throwing shoulder. They said it is unlikely he will make the opening day roster.

The former Nationals pitcher underwent offseason foot surgery before the Mets signed him in January. He was delayed earlier this spring by shoulder stiffness, but said he is now experiencing a different kind of ache.

“It’s totally different because the beginning of camp, it was just a completely unconditioned situation,” Redding said on Saturday. “… Now it’s more or less a pinpoint simple area giving me discomfort.

“It’s not a burn, it’s not a shooting pain, it’s just an achiness, and the only way we can identify trying to get that better is to back off.”

Redding will begin rehab once his strength returns, but general manager Omar Minaya said there is no timetable for his return.

“We will let him rest for a while and make sure his strength comes back before we get him back on the mound,” Minaya said.

Redding made his first game appearance on Sunday against the University of Michigan, giving up five hits and five runs in one-third of an inning.

He struggled again on Thursday in his Grapefruit League debut, giving up eight hits, including three home runs, and nine runs in two innings.

“There’s nothing structurally wrong we were able to distinguish through the medical staff and the doctors,” Redding said. “So I can still try to build strength by throwing, but at the same time, it’s to the point where it’s not going to do me or the team any good if I am out there trying to build my pitch count up, throwing up bad results, because one day it feels great and the next it doesn’t feel great.”

Minaya believes the setback is a result of Redding’s offseason training being slowed by the surgery, which he had in November to repair a joint in his left foot. The Mets gave him an MRI before signing him and were satisfied he was healthy.

“Because of the foot surgery, coming into camp, the things he did before to get himself ready to go, he was not able to do the same, and that’s put him a little bit back in his throwing program, strengthwise,” Minaya said.

In 2008, Redding was 10-11 with the Nationals and finished tied for ninth in the National League with 33 starts.

The right-hander was a contender for the fifth spot in the Mets’ starting rotation, and also could have filled a role as a long reliever.

Minaya wouldn’t rule out bringing in a new pitcher, but said that at this time the Mets plan to look within camp for someone to fill Redding’s role.

Former Mets pitcher Pedro Martinez remains a free agent, but Minaya said there are no negotiations with him at this point. He wouldn’t comment on whether there had been any contact.

“I never rule out options looking outside, but I feel comfortable in the guys we have,” Minaya said.

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