- Pedro Martinez has never been shy about expressing his opinions, and he didn't have any problems with the Red Sox drilling Tyler Austin.
BOSTON – Pedro Martinez watched this past week’s skirmishes between the Yankees and Red Sox with a perspective unlike many others. The Hall of Famer, whose most memorable moments–both good and bad–occurred against the Yankees, shared his insight on Yanks’ rookie Tyler Austin, who slid cleat-first into Sox infielder Brock Holt and later faced retaliation when he was drilled by a pitch from Sox reliever Joe Kelly.
“I was glad to see the little fire between the two teams,” said Martinez, whose official title with the Red Sox is Special Assistant to President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski. “That brings back memories of my time when I was playing with Boston. It’s more important than anything to see we can stand up in front of the Yankees and actually compete with them at the same level. That was very satisfying.”
Martinez explained that Austin broke an unwritten rule that merited retaliation from the Red Sox.
“I’m glad it was taken care of in a safe way, where Joe Kelly hit him was perfectly fine,” said Martinez. ”Anybody would be upset when you get hit by a 98 [mile per hour pitch], but at the same time, whenever you go cleats up in the big leagues, you’re going to be reminded that’s a no-no.”
Speaking at the “Rally with 45” fundraiser for his Boston Marathon charity team, Martinez also touched on whether he sees any similarities between himself and MLB rookie sensation Shohei Ohtani, who is the 23-year-old from Japan that pitches and DHs for the Angels.
“I wouldn’t say he’s just special, he’s unique,” said Martinez, noting he was extremely impressed with Ohtani’s 2.08 earned run average in his first 13 innings pitched as well the fact that he has also belted three home runs. “He’s a great athlete and has one of the best bodies I’ve ever seen from a Japanese player. This is a kid that all of us are excited to watch and pray to God that he stays healthy. He’s going to please a lot of people in baseball with things we have not seen in the last 100 years.”
Still active with the Red Sox, who touched up Ohtani for three earned runs in two innings yesteray, Martinez was part of the brain trust that hired Alex Cora as the 47th–and first minority–manager in Sox history.
“Cora is young, smart, and intelligent,” said Martinez. “The way baseball is trending right now, he’s a perfect fit. His experience is good enough to get him by with the team, and his communications with the players is going to help him out. Plus, the core behind him, including me, will be of great help to the entire staff.
Martinez's Red Sox have opened the season with a franchise-best 13-2 record.
“I’m extremely excited about the way the team has started,” said Martinez. “We worked really hard in spring training with all those guys to keep them healthy, and that has been the biggest reason why we are in such a good spot. The team has all the tools to compete with any team in the big leagues. We’re confident that if we stay healthy, we’re going to be in the middle of the pile with everybody.”