Martinez Remains Popular
Fort Myers, Fla. — Pedro Martinez might have been the most popular person in a Red Sox uniform during the team’s morning workout yesterday.
The former ace has rejoined the organization that was the beneficiary of most of his glory days as a special assistant to general manager Ben Cherington.
Martinez, who turned 41 in October, has not pitched since 2009, his final season with the Phillies. He last played for the Red Sox in 2004, when he helped them to their first World Series championship in 86 years.
“It’s weird,” he said of putting on the uniform again. “But it feels like the first day to me. I get so excited to just be part of this team and be part of the tradition that we have here.”
Martinez won two of this three Cy Young Awards while with the Red Sox. In his seven seasons in Boston, he went 117-37, a .760 winning percentage, with a 2.52 ERA.
The time was right, he said, to come back. He will be working with the major and minor league pitchers this season and expects to be at Fenway often.
“To be honest, I can’t sit still for so long,” he said. “I have to work. I grew up working. “Even though my family needs me and I need my family now, I still need some time to actually go away, have a schedule, have something to do and at the same time be where I like to be, which is in the baseball field.”
Martinez spent part of the workout with right-handed reliever Daniel Bard, who is trying to rebound after a dreadful foray into starting pitching last season, and lefty Felix Doubront, the youngest member of Boston’s projected rotation, who has been delayed this spring by a sore shoulder and conditioning issues. Martinez also spent time with right-hander Rubby De La Rosa, whose grandmother worked for Martinez’s family in the Dominican Republic.
Tampa, Fla. — Derek Jeter has taken part in most of the drills during the New York Yankees’ first full-squad workout.
The 38-year-old captain participated in on-field batting practice Monday for the first time since ankle surgery last October. Jeter, who has been hitting in an indoor cage, also took part in a 25-minute defensive session at shortstop.
Jeter broke his left ankle lunging for a grounder in the AL championship series opener against Detroit on Oct. 1 and had surgery a week later. He says he will be in the lineup for opening day against Boston on April 1.
Mesa, Ariz. — The Chicago Cubs have gone from worrying about Matt Garza’s elbow to concern over his side.
Chicago’s starter will undergo an MRI to determine the severity of the side injury he sustained while pitching batting practice, his first extensive work since last July.
Garza, who made just 18 starts last season because of an elbow injury, felt a twinge in his side while throwing on Sunday.
Garza went 5-7 with a 3.91 ERA last season. He made his final start on July 21, when he left a game in St. Louis because of a “stress reaction” in his elbow.
Bradenton, Fla. — Clint Hurdle is going to get a chance to finish a turnaround he’s started with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
A person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press the Pirates are planning to extend the third-year manager through the 2014 season with a club option for 2015.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because a formal announcement is expected on Wednesday, when owner Bob Nutting addresses reporters.
The agreement was first reported by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Hurdle is 151-173 in two seasons with the Pirates. He was entering the final season of a three-year deal he signed when he took over for John Russell in December, 2010. Pittsburgh went 79-83 in 2012, tied for the franchise’s best record in 20 seasons, though the Pirates went through a late swoon that dropped them out of playoff contention.