Boston Red Sox: Pedro Martinez

BOSTON -- Not only do Red Sox fans want Jon Lester to return and re-sign with Boston as a free agent, a couple of former prominent pitchers hope he does, too.

Red Sox Hall of Fame inductees Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens said Thursday they believe Lester, who was traded to the Oakland Athletics on July 31, should return and finish his career with the Red Sox.

“I hope he comes back, because he’s the perfect guy to actually have in the clubhouse, influence kids and I think Les is a guy that I’m against seeing him leave,” said Martinez, who is also a special assistant to general manager Ben Cherington. “Openly, I’m going to say I’m not happy that Lester is not here anymore. I would like him to come back, and we had that talk in the outfield, during bullpen sessions, during games.

“I hate to see Lester is gone because he’s a workhorse, he’s a good example in the clubhouse, he’s a role model in society, he’s a good role model and family member. He’s everything you need for a young group of guys that are developing. Lester is one of the guys that we have to really hope that he comes back, because he’s probably the right guy to have in front of all those young kids we have.”

In an interview with the Boston Herald’s John Tomase this week, Lester admitted he has not ruled out a return to the Red Sox and he would not simply play for the highest bidder once he becomes a free agent after this season.

Many Red Sox players recently told that they also believe Lester will return. Clemens and Lester have become good friends and the two visited when the Red Sox played in Houston earlier this season.

“I think that’s a great idea,” Clemens said of Lester’s possible return. “I think, even though Oakland’s doing something right, and they’ve been doing things right, I think [Boston] is a pretty good home for him. I just enjoy watching the guy pitch.

“I just like his mindset. You can see guys, like Jon, or like [Clayton] Kershaw, who get over that hump and know they belong and then they just blossom into a great pitcher. I mean, it’s incredible to watch guys and then they have to make adjustments every year. You can have a great three-year or five-year career but to have staying power, you really have to make adjustments in your game and stay focused, because you’re going to rack up a lot of at-bats against certain guys that you’re going to see a lot in the league.”

Like Lester, Clemens was homegrown in the Red Sox organization and the seven-time Cy Young Award winner would like to see Lester back in a Red Sox uniform.

“I enjoy watching him pitch,” Clemens said.

2004 champs will be honored tonight

May, 28, 2014
May 28
The “Idiots” will be back at Fenway Park tonight.

The 2004 championship team that ended 86 years of heartache in New England a decade ago will be honored tonight prior to the Red Sox taking on the Braves to begin a homestand.

Among the alums who are expected to be in attendance are David Ortiz (of course), Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon, Derek Lowe, Kevin Millar, Jason Varitek, Trot Nixon, Orlando Cabrera, Keith Foulke and Gabe Kapler.

It appears some of them, including Pedro and Manny (check out the hair), got together earlier in the week for some reminiscing. Here’s a tweet from Martinez posted Tuesday night:

Pedro glad to pass on his knowledge

February, 26, 2014
Feb 26
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Pedro Martinez barreled through the double doors and hopped onto the elevated bench to meet the media.

“When is this going to end?” he asked. “You guys still think I’m a ballplayer, huh?”

He said it boisterously, with his trademark smile and not a hint of sarcasm. He looked like he had just found out that he was the Powerball winner.

And in a sense, he was. This is Pedro’s Powerball. Mingling with the fans? Sure. He did that for almost an hour after Wednesday’s workout, and he looked like he wanted to remain there even longer than his admirers did. More importantly, though, it’s his role as special assistant to general manager Ben Cherington.

[+] EnlargeDrake Britton
Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox/Getty ImagesYoung pitcher Drake Britton "was very receptive" when Pedro Martinez visited him at Double-A Portland and offered him advice last season.
Martinez, 43, is ecstatic to be doing it for the second year. He doesn’t want to just be a figurehead, an ambassador. He wants to get his hands dirty.

“It’s just that I think I have so much to offer,” said Martinez, who will be inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame later this year along with Roger Clemens, Nomar Garciaparra and broadcaster Joe Castiglione. “It’s stuff that I’m not going to put into use anymore, so I might as well pass it along, and I’m trying to do that. I’m trying to get more involved in baseball, more with young players and veteran players -- whoever needs me. I would just love to pass everything I know -- all my knowledge, all my experience -- to some of those guys and hopefully get some good results out of every one of them.”

The transformation of Drake Britton was a testament to Martinez’s effectiveness.

Britton, enjoying his first big-league camp last spring as a 23-year-old, was arrested March 2 in Fort Myers on misdemeanor charges of reckless driving, driving under the influence, and property damage after his 2008 Chevrolet Silverado was clocked at 111 mph in a 45-mph zone. The next day, he was humiliated when the Red Sox sent him to minor-league camp.

Briton was scuffling at Double-A Portland when he got a surprise visit from Martinez. This was more of a case of Martinez being a father figure than a mechanical pitching coach. The heart-to-heart seemed to ignite Britton, who was called up to the Red Sox on July 20 and pitched well as a reliever (a 3.86 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 21 innings).

“I was honest to him,” Martinez said. “And I will always be. I went straightforward to him and told him exactly what I probably would love to hear if I was in the same situation. I talked about his stuff, trusting his stuff, about his personal life, how he should treat some of the things that were happening, and how much of a battle he wanted to put up after things like that happen.

“I’m extremely proud of him, extremely proud to see him overcome all of that and actually pay me back. Pay me back. Because that’s all I wanted -- to see him have success. And to see him at the end of the year pitching so well and doing so well and helping the team so much, it really made me like a proud father.”

Martinez described himself as an “old goat” who’s not inclined to hang out with 23-year-old kids. But when he looked in Britton’s eyes, he saw he was having an impact.

[+] EnlargeMartinez
Matthew J. Lee/Getty ImagesMartinez says he tries to make young players feel more comfortable around him by treating them like teammates. "I know that some of them might be a little shy, but they know I'm open and I'm flexible to do anything," he says.
“He was very receptive,” Martinez said. “I have to tip my hat to him. He took it with maturity. Not only that, he took the right approach toward it. He was dedicated to what I kind of wanted to help him with. And he did great. The credit doesn’t go to me. It goes to him for doing what he was supposed to do.”

Why did he take such an interest in Britton? Because when he saw him in spring training, he thought he was headed directly for the big leagues in a few weeks. If Cherington had asked him, Martinez would have told him, “Take that lefty with you.”

“If they asked me my opinion, I would have said, ‘He’s big-league ready,’ ” Martinez said. “When I saw him struggling in Double-A, I chose myself to go and see him and let him know that everything he had before was still there. It was just a matter of putting his mind, his heart, his desire, where it had to be. He took it graciously.”

Said manager John Farrell, “There’s a lot of wisdom and knowledge he can give to young pitchers, and it’s not just here in camp. In the case of Drake Britton, it had a huge impact on him.”

Martinez said his approach is to empower young players to have confidence and reach a comfort level so they “have no fear.”

It might be intimidating for a young player to be in the presence of a three-time Cy Young Award winner with a 2.93 career ERA and more strikeouts (3,154) than innings pitched (2,827). But Martinez has a way to solve that.

“I run around like they are my teammates,” he said. “I know that some of them might be a little shy, but they know I’m open and I’m flexible to do anything. I don’t treat (Jon) Lester like I wouldn’t treat Britton. They are all the same. They’re my teammates. They’re my friends. They can talk to me anytime.”

It’s hard to believe, but four years have already passed since Martinez last threw a pitch in the major leagues. Next year, he’ll be eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Cooperstown beckons. But the way he talks, it’s anything but a lock.

“I think I should have a shot, but it’s not up to me,” he said.

Let’s call it a really good shot.

Pedro, '04 champs give props to current Sox

October, 24, 2013
BOSTON -- While comparisons can be made between the 2013 Red Sox and the 2004 team that won it all against the St. Louis Cardinals to bring Boston its first World Series title in 86 years, this year's bearded band of brothers is different from the '04 group of self-proclaimed "idiots."

"This team is them," former Red Sox outfielder Trot Nixon said Thursday. "They've got their own identity."

[+] EnlargeKevin Millar, Pedro Martinez
Rob Carr/Getty ImagesKevin Millar and Pedro Martinez high-five each other before Thursday's ceremonial first pitch.
Nixon played an integral role on the 2004 championship team, collecting five hits in 14 World Series at-bats. And joining him before Thursday night's Game 2 against a familiar opponent, St. Louis once again, were 2004 Game 3 starter Pedro Martinez and Game 4 starter Derek Lowe, sharing their thoughts on a 2013 team looking to bring Boston its third championship in the past 10 years.

"This team has a lot of character," Martinez said. "It's a team that looks pretty much like us, yes, because they can't wait to get to the field.

"It's a team that wants to play. They want to leave it all out. And I don't know if you guys have been noticing the way they play the game -- they play the game like a wolf pack."

The Red Sox pounced on Cardinals Game 1 starter Adam Wainwright on Wednesday night, scoring five times in the first two innings en route to an easy 8-1 win. Martinez, now a TBS postseason analyst, was not impressed with the Cardinals' play.

"They did not execute. They did not do anything right," Martinez said. "[Jon] Lester had his good stuff and he beat them. That's it, clean and simple."

The three former Red Sox champions also gave their opinions on the beard phenomenon that has spread from the clubhouse throughout Red Sox Nation this season. The consensus? Thumbs up across the board.

"It's a long season," Nixon said. "I think it's just to change the monotony that you go through every day. Clubhouses get crazy and guys have a little bit of fun, whether it's their beards or mustaches or haircuts. But I like it, it's pretty good."

"I second that," Lowe said. "I think [manager] John Farrell may be the only one that doesn't have one. Clubhouse guys, clubhouse kids, parking-lot attendants have them. It's a positive thing, it's a cool thing that they've done."

"I think it's great for the morale that the team has in the clubhouse," Martinez said. "Even though they look like Santa Claus, pretty much every one of them with red beards. But don't make a mistake, those guys are going out there like professionals, like they should, and they're not out there to embarrass anybody or embarrass the organization. They're representing the organization really well."

Nixon, Lowe and Martinez were joined on the field by former teammates Kevin Millar, Jason Varitek, Mike Timlin and Keith Foulke for the ceremonial first pitch Thursday night. Out of the dugout came the only holdover from the 2004 team, David Ortiz, to join in the moment with them. It was a flashback met with an eruption of applause from a Fenway crowd anxiously awaiting the chance to see their beloved Red Sox try to take a 2-0 lead over the Cardinals, just as Boston did in 2004.

"The Red Sox organization has always done a great job of bringing ex-players back, and I know for me personally it's very special," Lowe said. "[But] this is the current team's moment."

Pedro will join TBS's playoff coverage

September, 23, 2013
NEW YORK -- Pedro Martinez has endured and savored a little of everything in the pressure of the postseason.

Tussling with Don Zimmer. Blowing a big lead on the cusp of the World Series. Winning a city's first championship in 86 years.

Now that the three-time Cy Young Award winner will be talking about the game from the calm of the studio, he wants to remember that tension. Martinez will join TBS's playoff coverage as an analyst next month.

"Some of us, when we go up to the booth and look at the game down on the field, sometimes we tend to forget how difficult the game is and how uncomfortable it is to execute under pressure," he said Monday in a phone interview.

Martinez was never shy in front of a microphone in his 18-year major league career, most memorably with the Red Sox. From "Wake up the damn Bambino ... maybe I'll drill him in the ass," to "Just tip my hat and call the Yankees my daddy," the words were blunt and bountiful.

Now, he keeps using the word "professional" in discussing how he plans to commentate on TBS, where Martinez will join host Keith Olbermann. That promise will probably disappoint some fans and relieve others.

Martinez has worked with current Red Sox players as a special assistant and pronounces himself proud of the revival of this year's team, about which he'll be tasked to analyze during the playoffs. Their chemistry reminds him of Boston's 2004 World Series champs.

And even on other clubs, Martinez has quite a few friends and former teammates.

"As a baseball player, I always recognized when I didn't do something right," Martinez said. "I didn't have a problem with anybody saying, `He didn't execute."

Still, he emphasizes that he considers himself a "positive person" and makes clear he'd prefer to delve into his insights as a former player about on-field activity than, say, whether players penalized under the sport's drug policy should suit up in the postseason.

Martinez and Olbermann will be joined by Tom Verducci on the studio show for TBS, which broadcasts the wild-card games, division series and NL championship series.

The 41-year-old Martinez last pitched in the 2009 World Series for the Phillies. He has done some local media appearances in Boston -- sorting out, as many recently retired athletes must do, how to fill his newly discovered free time.
Martinez saw other ex-players thriving on TV and figured he might fit in there, too.

"I'm so used to being aggressive, the competiveness," he said.

Notes: Ells sits, Salty still out, Buch close

September, 6, 2013
NEW YORK -- Some quick hits from Yankee Stadium prior to the second game of this four-game set between the Red Sox and Yankees:

-- Jacoby Ellsbury, who singled and stole second base in advance of Shane Victorino’s game-winning hit in the 10th inning Thursday night, was experiencing soreness in the right foot he injured several days ago when he fouled a ball off it, manager John Farrell said. Ellsbury underwent treatment and was staying off his feet, Farrell said. No additional X-rays were taken, but Ellsbury sat Friday night, with Shane Victorino playing center field.

-- Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who took early hitting Friday and participated in other drills, is sufficiently recovered from his lower back pain to resume playing soon, Farrell said. "Tomorrow is a real possibility," he said.

-- The day after Clay Buchholz made his third and last rehab assignment, Farrell said he has not yet changed the starting rotation to include his undefeated ace. "Clay went to Boston, will join us tomorrow and throw a bullpen here Sunday," Farrell said. "We’re making sure we go through every step physically before making any adjustments."

Farrell said that Buchholz threw with power consistent with the way he was throwing earlier in the season before being shut down with shoulder bursitis. "I spoke to him live this afternoon and he feels good physically," Farrell said. "He had increased command of all of his pitches, and is in a pretty good place from a mental standpoint in addition to being physically sound."

Farrell has suggested that Buchholz could rejoin the rotation Tuesday in Tropicana Field against the Tampa Bay Rays, but has held off on making that a definite. Ryan Dempster, whose turn would fall on Tuesday, said he is preparing to make that start and has yet to be told otherwise.

-- Dempster took the "6" subway train and transferred to the "4" for the trip into Yankee Stadium on Friday afternoon. A crew from MLB Productions tagged along. Dempster said he often rides the subway to the ballpark in New York -- he took the "7" train to Flushing when he was with the Marlins and Cubs and had to play the Mets -- and said he has taken the BART from San Francisco to Oakland on occasion. As a Cub, he walked to Wrigley Field from the Lakeview neighborhood in which he lived, and also walks to Fenway.

-- The "Yes" Network, which televises Yankees games, had a great shot of David Ross, Mike Carp and other Sox players howling in laughter when Drew dug up a divot and made a sprawling catch of a foul popup by Curtis Granderson in the fourth inning. What did Ross say to Drew? "Nice route, Magellan," the catcher said.

So, Ross had paid attention in his high school history class? "I crushed high school history," he said.

-- Pedro Martinez was a pregame visitor to the Sox clubhouse, drawing a laugh when he spotted Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy and yelled, "Shaughnessy, you evil maniac." Martinez came in with a shopping bag for David Ortiz and shook hands with everyone in sight, sharing hugs with many of the call-ups he had seen in Pawtucket.

Rays' run comparable to '99 Pedro

July, 29, 2013

The folks at ESPN Stats & Information came up with an interesting comparison over the weekend, matching up the Rays' starting staff through a 24-game stretch that ended Saturday with Pedro Martinez's Cy Young season in 1999 (graphic above).

Rays lefty David Price, who held the Red Sox to one run in a complete-game five-hitter last week, will pitch at Fenway tonight looking to help the Rays leapfrog the Sox into first place in the AL East.

Felix Doubront will start for the Red Sox. Over his past seven starts, Doubront is 3-1 with a 2.15 ERA.

Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 5, Rockies 3

June, 26, 2013

BOSTON -- There was a time, not long ago, when you figured about the only way the names of John Lackey and Pedro Martinez would appear in the same sentence is if they got in a fender bender on one of Martinez's infrequent visits to the ballpark.

Not like this: Lackey striking out 12, matching his career high, while walking none in Boston's 5-3 win over the Colorado Rockies, a performance that put Lackey in the company of Pedro and a select few other Sox pitchers.

Lackey became just the sixth Sox pitcher since at least 1916 to strike out at least a dozen batters while issuing no walks. Martinez did it 10 times and Roger Clemens six, a list that includes Clemens's 20-K performance against the Tigers in 1996.

The other Sox pitchers to accomplish the feat were Hideo Nomo, Bruce Hurst and Jim Lonborg.

Lackey also became the seventh pitcher in the big leagues this season to have a 12-K-plus, no-walk game. The last was Eric Stults of the Padres on May 29.

Lackey's importance to the staff has become magnified since Clay Buchholz went on the shelf with injuries to his AC joint and neck, and he has stepped up in a big way. In his past eight starts dating to May 19, Lackey is 4-1 with an earned run average of 2.44. In his dozen starts overall, he has allowed more than three earned runs just twice.

He gave up a run in the first on a broken-bat dribbler by Carlos Gonzalez, stolen base and single by Wilin Rosario, and another in the sixth on a home run by Michael Cuddyer, who also homered off reliever Junichi Tazawa in the eighth.

The Sox, as they did in Tuesday's 11-4 win over the Rockies, jumped on a Colorado starter early, scoring all five runs by the time Roy Oswalt recorded the first out in the third, Daniel Nava's sacrifice fly.

Jacoby Ellsbury doubled for the fifth straight game to open the first and scored on Shane Victorino's single, one of three hits by the Sox right fielder. David Ortiz doubled him home and scored on Daniel Nava's base hit off the second base bag.

Singles by Victorino, Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli and Nava's sacrifice fly made it 5-1 in the third.

Jose Iglesias's streak of reaching base in 27 games with a plate appearance ended Thursday as he went hitless in four trips.

Koji Uehara recorded the save in his first opportunity since being named closer.

Pedro is relishing role as mentor

February, 18, 2013
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It doesn't matter if he's pitching or lobbing balls to fungo-hitting Bob Kipper in the bullpen during pitchers' fielding drills. It’s still an event when Pedro Martinez talks.

It was no different Monday, when Martinez made another appearance here in his role as special assistant to general manager Ben Cherington. Manager John Farrell had preceded Martinez’s media session and mentioned Venezuelan lefty Felix Doubront as someone to whom Martinez would give special attention. So there were questions about what role Martinez might play in the care and development of a young pitcher who showed up in less than ideal condition and was slowed up at the start of camp by a little shoulder soreness.

[+] EnlargeDoubront
Matthew J. Lee/Getty Images Pedro Martinez wants to teach young Sox lefty Felix Doubront, above, about being accountable "for his performance out there and the way he looks."
“He’s so young and so full of talent that sometimes we take for granted the opportunity we’re given,’’ Martinez said. “But in the same way it comes, the same way it could go.

“All it takes is a bad injury and you’re out of baseball. The only thing that prevents injuries is hard work. I believe he just doesn’t know and hasn’t been taught that he’s going to be held accountable for his performance out there and the way he looks, and that this is really a serious business. I think it takes a little while to get him mentally prepared to understand the responsibility on top of his shoulder with the whole Boston community and the team.”

Martinez didn’t sound overly concerned with Doubront’s conditioning, saying there was plenty of time to work himself into shape, but added he still needs to be held accountable.

“I think he’s so young,” Martinez said. “Nowadays, these pitchers come up so young and so talented that they don’t realize how much they’re going to be counted on. And I think Doubront is a good example. I think he needs to know that he’s really important to this team, this organization, to the community, to Boston, that they’re counting on him to be one of the big names.

“At the same time, he’s just a young kid trying to develop and he’s already in the big leagues trying to perform. And you have to take that into consideration and be patient with him and at the same time, try to guide him through it.’’

Asked if he could be tough on Doubront if needed, Martinez said:

“Baseball is not easy. It wasn’t easy for me. He has to expect it to be tough. One thing I’m going to be with him, just as I was with all of you, I’m going to be straightforward. I’m going to say the way it is, point-blank, the way it is. If he wants to hear it or if he doesn’t, it’s OK. I just know I want the best for him and I want the best for the organization and I would love to help him.’’

Martinez last pitched in 2009. He said it was time to come back because “I can’t sit still.’’

“I can’t handle the fact that I have all this knowledge and not give it away. I would love to give it away, and I hope [Doubront] sees me as a good example of hard work and dedication.’’

Martinez will not be a daily presence here in camp, but said he expects to be around both here and in Boston to assist in any way he can. Asked if we might expect to see him years from now, he said yes, “when I’m an old goat.’’ He referred to his affection for Johnny Pesky, recalling how Pesky hit fungoes to him in his first year in Boston. “I was proud to know Johnny Pesky,’’ he said. “I hope to become someone like that.’’

Asked how many batters he hit intentionally as a pitcher, Martinez said: "Ninety percent. But almost all of them were in retaliation.’’

Martinez hit 141 batters in his career, or 45 fewer than Tim Wakefield. He laughed when asked if he’d thrown at Karim Garcia of the Yankees in a notorious incident during the 2003 playoffs. “No,’’ he said. “I didn’t hit him. I hit his bat. Lucky bastard.’’

He said he bore no ill will toward the Red Sox when he wasn’t re-signed after the 2004 season, noting that baseball has a “dark side -- negotiations.’’

Nothing, it seems, can spoil the memory of 2004, when the Red Sox won the World Series, ending an 86-year drought.

“There is nothing about 2004 I don't miss,’’ he said.

He even spoke poetically about how much he loved to see the trees bud and flowers bloom during a New England spring. As for the warm reception he received from the fans here, he said: "I'm just another fan in the parade. I am happy they still feel for me.’’

Pedro back with Sox as assistant to GM

January, 24, 2013
The Boston Red Sox on Thursday announced that former ace Pedro Martinez is returning to the organization as a special assistant to general manager Ben Cherington.

Martinez joins former battery-mate Jason Varitek in that capacity with the team and will help in the development of the team’s pitching prospects.

“We are very excited to have Pedro onboard with us and back in the Red Sox organization,” Cherington said in a news release. “He was one of the game’s most dominant pitchers and without a doubt a beloved figure in Red Sox history. Similar to former teammate Jason Varitek, who joined the baseball operations staff in September, Pedro will be involved in several areas, including the evaluation, mentorship, and instruction of young players in spring training and throughout the season.”

On Thursday morning, Cherington said both Martinez and Varitek participated in organizational meetings that took place in Boston over the last few days.

Martinez spent seven seasons in Boston (1998-2004), winning two of his three Cy Young awards and a World Series ring during his time with the Red Sox. He went 117-37 (a franchise-best .760 winning percentage) with a 2.52 ERA in his seven seasons with the Red Sox, leading the league in ERA four times in that span.

“I am thrilled to be returning to this organization and to the city I love,” Martinez said in a statement. “Ben Cherington’s meetings this week have been outstanding. It is an honor to be back with the Red Sox and help in any way I can. I am grateful to our leaders; I believe in them, and I thank them for allowing me to return to the field and help us win again. My heart will always live in Boston.”

Pedro talks Sox job, PEDs and HOF

December, 8, 2012
Former Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez attended David Ortiz's charity golf event in the Dominican Republic, where he spoke Friday about a number of topics.

To read Boston Globe reporter Peter Abraham's story, CLICK HERE.

To read Scott Lauber's story for the Boston Herald, CLICK HERE.

Here's some highlights of Martinez's comments:

His desire to work for the Sox in some capacity:

"It's just a matter of time. Right now, the team has priorities that I don't need to get involved in. I think they need to get their priorities in place first and I'll help out later on with whatever. We'll find the right time."

Martinez also said, "That's what I want to do, I want to be there. To get close to Ben Cherington and [Larry] Lucchino, learn a little bit and see if I like the office or if I like more on the field."

His thoughts on competing during the steroid era and how it will affect the Hall of Fame chances of players like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds:

"It's really difficult for me to choose either one. I would have loved to face Roger Clemens when he was Roger Clemens with nothing. I would have loved to face him all the time.

"I was clean. I know I was clean. That's all I can say. I was out there and they got the best out of me. Beat me or not, that was the best I had, and clean. I wish it were the same way for every one of them. Even though it was the steroid era, I never had a complaint. I think I did the best way possible for as long as I could.

"What would have happened if I had a level ground field? It's only to be guessed. This is the same body you saw, except maybe a couple of more pounds. But doing it is really difficult."

Pedro: Would've retired if Sox lost in '04

September, 26, 2012
BOSTON -- Pedro Martinez is arguably the most likably and respected pitcher in Red Sox history.

He spent seven seasons in Boston and helped the Red Sox win a World Series title in 2004, erasing 86 years of baseball misery in this town. Every time he returns to the city, Martinez always speaks glowingly about the Red Sox and their fans.

He also always has a colorful story to tell.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner has been in Boston for the last few days, along with many of his former Red Sox teammates, as the club is concludes its season-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park.

The Sox are set to name their All-Fenway team tonight and you can be sure Martinez will be on it.

After winning in 2004, Martinez left Boston and signed with the New York Mets. When asked Tuesday whether he would have stayed with the Red Sox if the team did not win the Series, Martinez admitted he would have called it a career.

“I probably would have retired right after then,” Martinez said. “I would have been so disappointed. I came here with a purpose and that was a purpose, and I’ll say I was probably the only player out of all the players that felt like he had something to achieve for this team, because I was called in to build a team around me as the ace of the team. It took me to the last year to actually finally get it, but I could easily say ‘mission accomplished.’”

Part of the mystique of Fenway is the famed Green Monster. If you’re lucky enough to walk inside, you’ll see names written on the walls of both former and current players. Martinez said on Tuesday he has yet to sign his name because he wanted to wait until the Red Sox won the World Series, but he’s never taken the time to do it in his return trips.

“I refused to until I won it for Boston,” he said. “And I keep forgetting every time I come back, I keep forgetting but know I feel like I can sign it and leave my name in the Green Monster.”

Of course, one of the most entertaining stories about the Green Monster is recent history is when former Red Sox slugger and left fielder, Manny Ramirez, went inside the wall during a game and relieved himself.

“I’m going to sign really high so Manny doesn’t pee on it,” Martinez said. “Now we can all go and sign it ‘mission accomplished.’”

Pedro steals show at 'The Tradition'

June, 27, 2012
Pedro MartinezCal Sport Media/AP Images
BOSTON -- In his decade within the confines of Yawkey Way, it was Pedro's world. Every fifth day from April to October was cause for celebration when No. 45 was set to take the hill.

But as much as the Koufaxian numbers in an unprecedented live ball era, the power numbers from an slight frame, the searing glare into the batter's box, as much as the don't-tread-on-me gumption in situations that demanded it most, it was his uniquely carefree personality that won Boston fans over.

In his return to the city he won over nearly a decade and half ago, Pedro Martinez was hugging and shaking, grinning and chuckling like it was 2004 all over again.

"I'm always extremely proud," Martinez told a group of reporters several hours before being honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Sports Museum, in its annual ceremony "The Tradition" on Wednesday night at TD Garden. "I've said it before, it feels like home to me, and it continues to be. Not only home, it seems like a party every day I come into Boston. It continues. ... It's a parade.

"I remember the last time I was here, it was a parade from the Red Sox, every time I came by it feels the same way, because the people receive me with the same love, the same atmosphere, the same intensity, and I identify really well with that."

Mayor Tom Menino presented Martinez the award in the final segment of the two-hour-plus program before a live audience on the Garden floor, another honor further cementing Martinez's legacy in Boston.

"I am extremely proud, like everything else we do in Boston," he said. "I feel like I'm a Bostonian now, and this makes me a Bostonian forever. I could not express more gratitude towards Boston and the way they go about their teams, their players and their athletes. To reunite with all of these athletes, it's a great honor."

Asked about some of his most famous games with the Sox from 1998 to 2004, Martinez was more interested in relating it back to the fans. But he did take pride in some of his more unusual moments.

Take, for instance, his famous five-strikeout performance in the 1999 All-Star Game at Fenway, in which he nearly threw his arm out in winning the ASG MVP.

"That's OK. It was worth it. The fans in Boston could not expect anything else from us, and I was extremely proud to have Boston receive that trophy. I was extremely proud to do it for Boston."

Or his Game 5 win against Cleveland in the 1999 American League Division Series -- a win picked up in relief on short rest.

"I think the Cleveland game ranks really high," he said. "That was a moment of desperation from the team, and they really needed any help they could get it. I've never been in pain in any other game like I was that day. But it was worth it."

Martinez put up numbers that won't soon be replicated in Boston: the 117-37 record, the back-to-back Cy Youngs, the 1.78 ERA in 2000. And he had the big personality to go along with the impressive stats.

On Wednesday night, he was honored to be back in town.

Robert Parish was the first of six inductees to be presented, and just like his Basketball Hall of Fame induction in 2003, it was Bill Walton introducing him on stage.

"My chest has stuck out a little further, now that I'm here in person," Parish joked to reporters before the ceremony. "It's a great honor, and a privilege. It's a very proud night for me."

Parish was followed by Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, introduced by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Jacobs was followed by Chris Ernst, a two-time Olympic rower who during her time at Yale University helped lead her team in the 1976 Title IX protest since glorified in the documentary "A Hero For Daisy."

Patriots safety and two-time Super Bowl champion Rodney Harrison was the next to be inducted, followed by former Revolution defender Alexi Lalas, introduced by Revs all-time leading scorer Taylor Twellman.

Pedro makes history at 1999 All-Star Game

April, 20, 2012

We take a look back at the 1999 All-Star Game, which ranks at the top of Jackie MacMullan's Fenway Park memories.

Pedro Martinez was at the height of his powers, fanning the side in the first inning and notching K's on 5 of the 6 batters he faced in an electrifying performance in front of the home crowd.

Pedro open to comeback with Red Sox

April, 10, 2011
With the Red Sox pitching staff off to a shaky start, could Pedro Martinez provide some help?

[+] EnlargePedro Martinez
Elsa/Getty ImagesPedro Martinez throws out the first pitch at last year's Fenway opener. He says he wouldn't mind wearing a Sox uniform again.
In a Q&A with the New York Times, Martinez said he'd interested in returning to the major leagues and would prefer a return to the Red Sox to end his career.

Martinez hasn't pitched since the 2009 World Series, when he faced the Yankees while with the Phillies.

Asked how quickly he could be ready to pitch, Martinez said, "I’m in shape right now and I’m training and I’m playing catch, so getting to full strength would probably take me a month, month and a half, to be on a mound."

Asked which team he would choose among the Red Sox, Phillies and Yankees if the money were equal, Martinez said, "I’d probably have to say the Red Sox. I would like to win a World Series in the National League, so the Phillies are in there, too. But for the time I’m going to be playing, I think Boston is more suitable so that I can retire with the Boston Red Sox and go to the Hall of Fame with the same hat."

Before Sunday night's game, Red Sox manager Terry Francona had little light to shed on Martinez.

“It’s hard for me to comment on something I don’t know anything about,” Francona said. “Believe me when I tell you, I haven’t picked up a paper. I would be giving a comment that I don’t know anything about.”

Francona said the last time he spoke with Martinez was during the offseason when both attended David Ortiz’s charity golf tournament in the Dominican.

“It was a real nice conversation,” Francona said. “It wasn’t about him pitching here.

In the New York Times piece, Martinez also predicted the Phillies would beat the Red Sox in the World Series.

"I believe if the pitching staff stays healthy, I’d pick the Phillies to win the World Series and National League," he said. "In the American League, I’d probably have to go with the Red Sox. They’re loaded. They have pitching, they have everything, so I think they’re due."