May 30, 2013

Pedro Martinez visits Portland

The former Red Sox pitcher shares his expertise with Sea Dogs pitchers.

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND - Fresh from an emotional night at Fenway Park, Pedro Martinez arrived at Hadlock Field Wednesday, ready to mentor the Portland Sea Dogs' pitchers.

click image to enlarge

Pedro Martinez, a special assistant to Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, visited Hadlock Field Wednesday night, and got to see Anthony Ranaudo’s pitching gem.

Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

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Former Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez, now special assistant to the general manager, fielded questions at a press conference at Hadlock Field Wednesday, May 29, 2013. Martinez was in town to work with the Sea Dogs' pitching staff.

Gabe Souza / Staff Phoptographer

"Sometimes I feel like I would like to give them my brain, with my experience, so they can go with all that talent they have, and put it all together," Martinez said.

Martinez, 41, the former Boston Red Sox All-Star and future Hall of Famer, is in his first year as a special assistant to Red Sox GM Ben Cherington. One of his duties is to mentor young pitchers in Boston's minor league system.

"I always thought I could do this," Martinez said. "Basically, I can relate to every aspect (of the game). Not only as a member of the organization, but as a player I can relate to them."

One of the first pitchers Martinez visited with was left-hander Drake Britton.

"To hear his insight and how much knowledge he has about pitching, it was awesome," Britton said.

Martinez performs other functions for the Red Sox. During Tuesday's pregame ceremonies at Fenway Park, Martinez visited with Boston marathon bombing victim Jeff Bauman, and his rescuer, Carlos Arrendondo. Bauman lost both legs in the attack. Before Bauman threw out the first pitch, Martinez showed him how to throw a change-up.

"When they expressed that to me, that he was looking forward to meeting me because I was his favorite player, it gave me goose bumps," Martinez said. "Two brave men, right there (from) something so ugly, something so bad. To come up and have so much fun. I was honored to shake those guys' hands. It was a special moment for me."

In baseball terms, Martinez provided many special moments for the Red Sox. Of his 219 career wins, 117 came in a Boston uniform. His last Red Sox victory was in Game 3 of the 2004 World Series as Boston swept St. Louis for its first championship since 1918.

Martinez left Boston after 2004, signing with the Mets for four years. He pitched in 2009 for the Phillies and then retired.

The Red Sox brought back Martinez and catcher Jason Varitek this year as special assistants. Varitek was at Hadlock last week, observing and evaluating the Sea Dogs.

"They have been at the peak," Portland Manager Kevin Boles said. "Obviously all the experience, being All-Star-caliber players, having great careers if they're talking to these guys, it's definitely going to make an impression."

Britton appeared somewhat wide-eyed after meeting Martinez in Boles' office.

"Having his presence in the locker room is special enough," Britton said, "then to have him sit down and talk with us "

Britton is one of several top pitching prospects on this team. Martinez will talk with them, while watching them work out or pitch in a game. Martinez sat in the stands Wednesday night, watching Anthony Ranaudo.

"There are some guys, especially on this team, that are high prospects in the organization," Martinez said. "We would like to see them develop as quick as possible. I want them to feel they can trust someone. I would like to be that person they can trust and talk to any time."

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

kthomas@pressherald.com

Twitter: @ClearTheBases

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