When Pedro Martinez left Boston after the 2004 World Series championship, citing a lack of “respect” (i.e., you’re not going to pay me what I think I’m worth), he went to the Mets after one of the most dominant stretches in major league baseball history.
Over a seven year period Martinez won two Cy Young awards, came in second or third three other times, and was a key piece of Boston’s first championship in 86 years. From 1998 to 2004 Martinez averaged 17 wins against just 5 losses, an ERA of 2.5 and 240 strikeouts per season. In 1999 he was 23-4 and in 2000 had a 1.74 ERA. Wow. This is a guy who never gave in, knew how to win, feared no one and inspired his teammates. Now he’s back in the fold, working this past week with Felix Doubront, Daniel Bard and Rubby De La Rosa.
If anyone can reach Bard, who may be Boston’s most pivotal and important turnaround pitching project, it just might be Martinez.
Pedro, having retired in 2009, is still close enough to the game to be able to speak the same language and relate to players in a way that an older coach may not. Ultimately, it’s still pitching coach Juan Nieves’ responsibility but having a living legend as a special assistant is a huge advantage.
Likewise Doubront, who has already been sidelined with shoulder soreness this spring, can learn about discipline and conditioning from Martinez, issues that the Red Sox suspect may be holding Doubront back.
‘‘He can relate to every pitcher on some level,’’ said Red Sox manager John Farrell in an interview with the Boston Globe. ‘‘It’s as much about dealing with pitching in Boston, the standpoint of what adjustments he had to go through. He has the scope of a whole major league career.
‘‘Sharing his experiences and much of the mindset a starting pitcher has to go not only in spring training but also how to manage a full season. The biggest thing is the way he was able to adapt throughout his career. Even when his physical power started to tail off at times, he made adjustments and learned to pitch.’’
That’s what Pedro brings to table every day he spends with Red Sox pitchers, which already puts Boston pitchers head and shoulders above their 2012 approach.
Well I love that dirty water
Oh, Boston, you’re my home (oh, yeah)
- Dirty Water, The Standells