- Andrew Marchand, ESPN Staff Writer
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NEW YORK -- Adding fuel to baseball's bitterest rivalry, New York Yankees catcher Russell Martin said he hates the Boston Red Sox and would relish adding to their misery by helping to eliminate them from the playoffs during this weekend's series between the two teams.
"Anything to get the Red Sox out would be awesome for me," said Martin, who has been involved in the rivalry for one season.
When asked why, Martin sounded like the truest Bleacher Creature.
"Because I hate the Red Sox," Martin said.
The Yankees entered Thursday night, having already clinched the American League East. Their magic number to gain home-field advantage over the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers was three. It would only be for the American League portion of the playoffs. The National League owns home field in the World Series because of the NL's victory in the All-Star Game.
Last winter, Martin almost went to Boston. The three teams most interested in signing him as a free agent were the Yankees, the Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays. The Yankees outbid the other clubs and gave Martin the best chance to start. Martin, 28, got $4 million plus performance bonuses.
Now, he has added a little spice to this weekend, which from the Yankees' side, had lost some of its luster because the AL East race ended Wednesday.
"They are fun to play against because they have a quality team and they are gritty and they play hard and stuff, but I would love to see them lose," Martin said.
When informed of Martin's comments, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he doesn't hate the Red Sox and would prefer not to add intensity to the rivalry.
"I don't ever like to fuel anything," Girardi said. "Boys will be boys."
In his first series against the Red Sox back in April, Martin hit two homers in one game at Fenway in the Yankees' 9-4 win in the second game of the season between the two clubs.
Boston, though, has owned the season series with the Yankees, having taken 11 of 15 games.
"They have given us a hard time all year, but I don't think we are scared of them or anything," Martin said. "If we play them (in the playoffs), we play them."
The Yankees were scheduled to play another AL East foe, the Tampa Bay Rays, on Thursday. The Yankees also go to Tampa for the final three games of the season at the beginning of next week. The Rays and Los Angeles Angels trail the Red Sox by 2½ games in the AL wild-card race.
Martin said he doesn't hate the Rays or the Angels.
Martin said his dislike of the Red Sox comes with playing in the Bronx.
"I guess it just comes with the territory," Martin said. "When you wear the pinstripes, you just kind of learn to be that way."
The Red Sox don't need anything to add to their playoff motivation as they will enter playing for their postseason lives.
With the Yankees at 95 victories, Martin also wants to see the Yankees get to triple digits in wins.
"It will be fun to be the spoiler and get 100 wins," Martin said.
Andrew Marchand covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com.