READING - This minor-league tour is finally starting to wear on Pedro Martinez.

He has moved into an apartment in Philadelphia, but has spent more time in the car with his driver, Brian. (Pedro doesn't know Brian's last name. But he's very famous in Philly, the righthander said.) Brian has driven Martinez to Allentown, Lakewood, N.J., and Reading in the span of six days.

Martinez said he felt physically weak from all the travel. So he'd like nothing more than for his 11-strikeout performance for the Reading Phillies against the Trenton Thunder last night to be his last stop on this circus ride.

"I hope so," Martinez said. "I don't want to ride in more cars with Brian. I love Brian, but I'd much rather leave him tickets to come see me in Philly."

The decision is not as clear-cut for the Phillies, but after Martinez pitched six innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits with 11 strikeouts and no walks, he appears to have accomplished all he can in the minors. Reading won, 8-4.

The only question that remains is whether Martinez joins the Phillies as a starter or reliever.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and top scout Charley Kerfeld watched Martinez last night from four rows behind home plate at FirstEnergy Stadium, where 9,953 fans, an all-time high at the 58-year-old park, looked on. Amaro and Kerfeld were not available for comment after the game.

Martinez said he does not know what's next for him, beyond another bullpen side session at Citizens Bank Park later this week. While Martinez dazzled in Reading, J.A. Happ - a pitcher whom Martinez could replace - shut out Colorado on four hits in Philadelphia.

Making his first start since Friday at Lehigh Valley, when he allowed one run through four innings before unraveling in a four-run fifth, Martinez threw 60 of his 82 pitches for strikes against double-A Trenton. He threw as hard as 93 m.p.h. in the sixth inning.

"I got out there and I spotted the ball better," Martinez said. "None of the balls I threw from the stretch were hit hard. I made it happen. They put it in play. It's not like I want to walk people. I'd much rather give up bombs than walk people."

He struck out the side in the first, but not without allowing a solo home run to Eduardo Nunez on a 1-1 pitch. Martinez left a 91 m.p.h. fastball over the plate. But after that, Martinez was nearly unhittable for five innings. He struck out nine in the first four innings.

As reporters crammed into the tiny Reading clubhouse, Martinez acknowledged there is work to do, but he was pleased with the effort. When the media left, he sat and signed balls for children and players. He chatted with pitcher Mike Zagurski. He gave advice to Domonic Brown on how to celebrate a home run.

On his way out to the car, where Brian was waiting, he nodded at top pitching prospect Kyle Drabek.

"See you soon," Martinez said.