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#pounditMonday, January 30, 2023

Articles tagged: Pedro Martinez

Pedro Martinez explains what Framber Valdez was doing during Game 2

Pedro Martinez does a rosin demonstration

Framber Valdez threw a gem to lead the Houston Astros to a win over the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 2 of the World Series on Saturday night, but some of his actions while on the mound led to another round of cheating suspicions. One Hall of Fame pitcher feels there was nothing to see on that front.

Valdez allowed just one run over 6.1 innings while striking out nine in Houston’s 5-2 victory. One video that went viral from the game showed him repeatedly rubbing a lower part of his palm. It also looked like Valdez wiped something on his pants before a substance check.

Martinez shared some of his thoughts on the topic during the MLB Network postgame show. The three-time Cy Young Award winner demonstrated how using rosin and rubbing it on your skin repeatedly is a good way to legally improve your grip. Martinez said Valdez was likely using rosin and sweat to get a better grip on the baseball.

“You can use the rosin bag and burn it (with friction) on your skin and actually rub a little bit of stickiness,” Martinez said in a video that was shared by a Reddit user. “When you burn it and continue to burn it, later on you’re gonna see that the rosin starts thickening.”

Valdez was asked after Game 2 about the way he was rubbing his palm, and he insisted he was doing nothing illegal.

The Astros are never going to get the benefit of the doubt due to their history of cheating, but it would be incredibly bold of them to try anything like that now. Martinez did not think there was anything Valdez did that was out of the ordinary for a pitcher.

Pedro Martinez issues warning to Red Sox

Pedro Martinez smiles

Jul 20, 2019; Cooperstown, NY, USA; Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez arrives at the National Baseball Hall of Fame during the Parade of Legends. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Red Sox have some major decisions to make this offseason, and one of the best players in franchise history believes they could seriously alter the direction of the franchise if they do not make the correct ones.

JD Martinez is set to become a free agent, and star shortstop Xander Bogaerts can join his teammate if he does not opt into the remainder of his contract. Rafael Devers has one year of arbitration eligibility remaining. Pedro Martinez spoke with Alex Speier of the Boston Globe recently about the Red Sox potentially losing some of their core, and he issued a warning to his former team.

“If Xander opts out and leaves the team and J.D. [Martinez] leaves the team, I think [Rafael] Devers is most likely going to head the same way,” Martinez said. “Those guys are going to go. They’re not going to have the essence of the franchise that we left. The culture that we left is going to be lost. And we don’t know when we’re going to get it back and how we’re going to get it back.”

Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has said on numerous occasions that the Red Sox intend to keep both Bogaerts and Devers. It is unclear if the team is as committed to Martinez, who will turn 36 next season. Though, he would cost a lot less to re-sign.

When the Red Sox signed infielder Trevor Story to a six-year, $160 million deal last offseason, many thought they were doing so as a precursor to letting Bogaerts walk. If that were the case, the predictions we heard some MLB executives make about Bogaerts a few months ago probably would have come true.

Devers, who will turn 26 this month, hit .295 this season with 27 home runs and 88 RBI. He was named to his second consecutive All-Star team. Bogaerts, a career .292 hitter, batted .307 with 15 homers and 73 RBI. He has been an All-Star in three of the past four seasons. Bogaerts, Devers and Martinez all played key roles on Boston’s 2018 World Series champion team.

The Red Sox may not keep all three, but it would be very difficult for them to replace Bogaerts and Devers in their lineup. Many with the organization likely agree with Pedro’s assessment.

H/T CBS Sports

Pedro Martinez sends World Series message to Mets’ aces

Pedro Martinez smiles

Jul 20, 2019; Cooperstown, NY, USA; Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez arrives at the National Baseball Hall of Fame during the Parade of Legends. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Pedro Martinez’s tenure with the New York Mets is not remembered as fondly as his time with the Boston Red Sox. Part of that is because of the lack of championships he won with them. Martinez is apparently still bothered by that.

Martinez was one of many former Mets players at Citi Field on Saturday for the team’s Old-Timers’ Day event, and he admitted he took a moment to speak to star pitchers Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer. Martinez’s message to the pair was to settle the “unfinished business” Martinez feels he has in New York.

“Me in particular, I felt like I had unfinished business. So today I was quick to ask two of the most talented pitchers that we have in the team, which is Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer,” Martinez said. “I don’t normally ask for much, but this time I did. I said, ‘Can you get it done for me?’ I felt like it was unfinished business.”

Martinez spent four seasons with the Mets, where he was excellent in 2005 before injuries began to take their toll. The Mets’ best chance to win a title during his time there came in 2006, when the team fell to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games in the NLCS. Martinez did not appear for the Mets in the playoffs that year due to injuries.

Getting that sort of message from someone like Martinez has to be motivating for deGrom and Scherzer. Of course, they have plenty of other motivation to win a title, too.

Pedro Martinez has bizarre take on Fernando Tatis PED suspension

Pedro Martinez smiles

Jul 20, 2019; Cooperstown, NY, USA; Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez arrives at the National Baseball Hall of Fame during the Parade of Legends. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Fernando Tatis Jr. was suspended 80 games for using performance-enhancing drugs, and a Hall of Fame pitcher believes that part of the blame rests with MLB.

The MLB commissioner’s office announced on Friday that Tatis would be suspended after testing positive for the banned anabolic steroid Clostebol. His suspension will last through the remainder of the 2022 season and will force him to miss the beginning of the 2023 season.

During Tuesday’s “MLB on TBS Tuesday Night” show, Pedro Martinez said that he was disappointed in Tatis. But Martinez also blamed MLB for not providing enough education to players in the Dominican Republic before coming to the United States on how to avoid ending up in Tatis’ situation.

“Major League Baseball should’ve taken one percent of what they do, and they have all 30 academies in the Dominican Republic, and they don’t do enough to educate those kids about medications, trainers,” Martinez said. “We don’t have any ambassador in the Dominican Republic telling those players what to do, unless you do it willingly like I sometimes do.”

Martinez was not the only former player to assign partial blame to MLB. David Ortiz said on Monday that MLB did not handle the situation correctly.

While Tatis’ family, as well as former players from the Dominican Republic like Martinez and Ortiz, have come to his defense, the same cannot be said for some of his San Diego Padres teammates.

Pedro Martinez called it that Casey Mize would need Tommy John surgery

Pedro Martinez smiles

Jul 20, 2019; Cooperstown, NY, USA; Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez arrives at the National Baseball Hall of Fame during the Parade of Legends. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, the Detroit Tigers announced that starter Casey Mize would undergo Tommy John Surgery and may not return until 2024. And while that came as a shock to many, Pedro Martinez was not among those caught off guard.

All the way back in 2020, Martinez recognized that Mize’s combination of size and mechanics could become a problem. He postulated that if the Tigers didn’t fix Mize’s throwing motion, a major injury would be forthcoming.

“The fact that he has a little hitch in his shoulder, he’s not fully extended and he throws that nasty split finger could scare anybody,” Martinez told MLB Network at the time. “If the Detroit Tigers don’t emphasize a lot on his mechanics and clean up his release point with that kind of pitch, you’re probably looking at a guy that’s going to get hurt.”

As a rookie, Mize threw his splitter about 18 percent of the time. And while that number dipped in the years following, his throwing motion didn’t change. As a result, constant pressure was being put on his elbow.

“And for a guy that flies open, normally that will cause stress on your elbow — and you know what comes next,” Martinez forecast.

Unfortunately for the Tigers and Mize, they did not heed Martinez’s warning. And although Mize avoided a full UCL tear, he did stretch it out significantly enough that it lost all elasticity and required reparative surgery.

Pedro Martinez shares the 1 thing Grady Little did wrong with him

Pedro Martinez smiling

Grady Little is a notorious figure in Boston for keeping Pedro Martinez in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS too long.

The Red Sox were up 5-2 in the eighth inning of Game 7 against the rival New York Yankees. Martinez was giving his Red Sox an ace performance until things fell off in the eighth.

After getting out Nick Johnson to lead off the bottom of the eighth, Martinez allowed a double to Derek Jeter, RBI single to Bernie Williams, ground-rule double to Hideki Matsui, and then a tying 2-run double to Jorge Posada. It wasn’t until he had allowed his fourth straight hit of the inning that Little pulled him for Alan Embree. Embree put two on but escaped with the game tied at five.

The Yankees famously won the game in the 11th on a walk-off home run by Aaron Boone off Tim Wakefield.

Little has been criticized for sticking with Pedro well past the point that Martinez had lost it. Pedro has defended Little in the past, however, he says his former manager messed up one thing.

Martinez was talking on TBS’ postgame show following Game 5 of the NLCS on Wednesday night between the Dodgers and Braves in Los Angeles.

He says the big mistake was being told after the seventh inning that he was done, only to be asked later to do a favor and help pitch in the 8th.

“The problem with that is, when you’re told when you leave the mound, ‘you’re done,’ … and then Grady (Little) came up personally and told me, ‘Pedro, can you get this lefty out? Because (Alan) Embree has a real hard time getting Nick Johnson out as a lefty. And then after that I have the entire bullpen,'” Martinez recalled Little saying.

“So I tried to crank it up a little bit. But it’s difficult because you let down a little bit. I didn’t even have my jacket on (in between innings). And then Grady at the last moment said, ‘can you get Nick Johnson out?’ And of course I’m going to go out there and try to do it. And I got him out in two pitches. And then [Grady] thought I was going to be better than I was after that. And that’s when all wheels fell off,” Martinez said.

Despite the mistake, Martinez still doesn’t blame Little.

“But at the same time, it’s not his fault. I still felt like I could execute some of the pitches. But you just have to also give credit to some of the batters who were able to make the adjustments.”

Little was fired after that season. He only managed two other seasons in MLB — both for the Dodgers — and that was it.

The irony is that after blowing Game 7 in 2003 to the Yankees, the Red Sox returned the favor to the Yankees a year later. In 2004, Boston became the first team to come back from down 3-0 and win a playoff series. They returned the favor on the Yankees, winning in seven games in the ALCS. That year, they also Red Sox won their first World Series since 1918.

Red Sox fans could not have dreamt up a more fulfilling way to break the curse than by coming back from down 3-0 to beat the Yankees in the ALCS. The heartbreak of 2003 only made the 2004 comeback that much sweeter.

Photo: Jul 20, 2019; Cooperstown, NY, USA; Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez arrives at the National Baseball Hall of Fame during the Parade of Legends. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Pedro Martinez goes viral for funny take on foreign substance issue

Pedro Martinez

Major League Baseball’s revised policy regarding the use of foreign substances by pitchers has dominated the sport’s news cycle this week, but we can assure you no one had a better take on the topic than Pedro Martinez.

Martinez, one of the greatest pitchers of all time, said on MLB Network Tuesday that he liked his baseballs a very certain way when he played. If they weren’t satisfactory when he first touched them, he says he would do what he had to to bring them up to his standards. He had a very eloquent way of describing the process:

We hear that, Pedro. Everyone likes their balls rubbed up a certain way. And if someone else can’t rub them the way you want them rubbed, you just have to do it yourself.

Martinez has delivered some outstanding takes while working as an analyst, but that may be his best.

Pedro Martinez accuses Angels of ‘shameful’ treatment of Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols

Pedro Martinez seems to believe Albert Pujols got a raw deal from the Los Angeles Angels.

The Hall of Fame pitcher sent a tweet Thursday afternoon praising Pujols, who was designated for assignment by the Angels earlier in the day. Martinez also sharply criticized the Angels for the “shameful” way the organization “treated you and your legacy today.”

It’s worth noting that Pujols reportedly wanted his release if the Angels were going to reduce his playing time. However, a separate report from Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times stated that Pujols was upset about being benched for Wednesday night’s game, a decision that apparently came from the front office and not manager Joe Maddon. That may be what Martinez is referring to when he talks about disrespect.

Martinez obviously has a ton of respect for Pujols, as most do within the game. He’s also never been shy about expressing blunt opinions. That said, the Angels had legitimate reasons to move on from the 41-year-old. In his last 460 games, he’s hitting just .240 with a sub-.300 OBP and very little power. The Angels can’t keep trotting that out there every day if they seriously have playoff aspirations, no matter how great his legacy is.

Pedro Martinez defends Fernando Tatis over grand slam incident

Fernando Tatis Jr

Fernando Tatis Jr. angered baseball’s “unwritten rules” police when he belted a grand slam last month, but you can count Pedro Martinez among those who had no problem with the feat.

Tatis hit a grand slam on a 3-0 pitch late in a game in which the Padres had a 10-3 lead over the Texas Rangers. Some people felt swinging in that situation was classless, but Martinez emphatically defended Tatis when asked about it on Monday.

Rangers manager Chris Woodward felt Tatis crossed the line by swinging. Others, like Martinez, defended the Padres slugger. Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had no problem with it.

Late rallies are not uncommon in baseball, and we doubt the Rangers would have been willing to concede the game when they were trailing 10-3. Tatis swinging at a 3-0 pitch was a lot different from doing something like bunting to break up a no-hitter when trailing 10-0. We’re with Pedro and all the others who have defended Tatis.

Pedro Martinez tells Red Sox fans to ‘relax’ after horrible start

Pedro Martinez

The Boston Red Sox have returned most of the roster from last year’s record-setting, World Series champion team, but you would never know it after the way they have performed out of the gate in 2019. Their starting pitching has been downright abysmal, but one of the best players in franchise history is not concerned about it.

After the Red Sox fell to 1-4 on the season with a 7-0 loss to the Oakland A’s on Monday, Pedro Martinez took to Twitter to tell people to “relax.”

Panicking five games into any 162-game season would be absurd, and that is certainly the case with Boston’s slow start. Though, pessimists could point to stats like this as a bad sign for the remainder of their season.

The Red Sox dominated baseball last year with a perfect balance of pitching and offense, but the first turn through their starting rotation has been a disaster. Chris Sale opened up the season by allowing seven earned runs in three innings against the Seattle Mariners. Fellow “ace” David Price got through six innings on Monday night, but he allowed four runs as Boston’s offense went stale. Rick Porcello also gave up four earned runs in his first start, so you get the point.

Boston has done a great job of locking up key players over the past few weeks, but it’s time to put the contract negotiations aside and shake the World Series hangover.