Originally created 02/22/98

Martinez gets more confident every day



LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Dennis Martinez is feeling so good he's starting to sound cocky.

"I'm here to stay," he said Saturday. "The way I feel, the way I'm doing my workout and my weight program, I don't see any setback from this point on. I'm having a great time."

Martinez, invited to camp as a non-roster player, is the leading candidate to be the fifth starter. Manager Bobby Cox has been impressed enough to suggest the veteran right-hander could start a game now.

Martinez, who retired last year following his release by the Mariners, is healthy again and throwing as well as he did five years ago.

"I'm going to take advantage of this until I can't pitch anymore," he said. "I don't see my body diminishing. I'm still in good shape and mentally I refreshed myself while I rested last year. I'm recharged again."

ANKLE PROBLEMS:

Tom Glavine is having problems with his right ankle, but it won't prevent him from making his first start next week. The left-hander, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on both knees and his ankle immediately after the season, says doctors aren't surprised he's experiencing pain in his ankle.

"They say it will be six months to a year before I'm fully recovered," he said. "It's only been four months, so they're not surprised at all with some of the pain I'm having. I could have it for up to a year."

To protect his knees, Glavine has stopped running on a treadmill. Instead, he's taking long walks on the machine, though he admits that occasionally he still feels a twinge in his knees.

"There are times when I make a misstep or catch a spike in the grass and I'll feel it," he said. "But I don't have the pain in my knees that I had last year."

SIGNS ON:

Second baseman Tony Graffanino agreed to a one-year, $192,500 contract Saturday, leaving Kevin Millwood and Andruw Jones as the only unsigned players remaining.

Graffanino's salary is only $22,500 above the major league minimum, but a raise of $40,000 over last year's salary.

"I'm happy to have it behind me, but naturally I feel like I deserve more," he said. "They have a pay scale and that's what they base salaries on. Hopefully I'll do well and I'll get something better next year."

This week's games

Thursday, Feb. 26 --

University of Georgia at Disney, 1:05 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 27 --

Kansas City Royals at Disney, 1:05 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 28 --

New York Mets at Disney, 1:05 p.m.

Sunday, March 1 --

L.A. Dodgers at Vero Beach, 1:05 p.m.