Martinez back with a vengeance

Martinez back with a vengeance
October 11, 2013, 10:15 pm
Share This Post

BOSTON --   After missing all of last season with a knee injury, for Victor Martinez, it’s been nice to be back in the postseason. The  former Red Sox catcher is batting .450, going 9-for-20, with two doubles, a home run, and two RBI in five games this postseason. He hit .301 during the regular season with a .355 on-base percentage, and .430 slugging percentage in 159 games. In the second half he hit .361/.413/.500.
“Obviously we missed him a lot during the season, there's no question about that,” said manager Jim Leyland. “He's back in sync, swinging the bat really well.”
Martinez was not even able to watch the postseason games last year, he said, too upset at not being able to play. His team getting swept in the World Series by the Giants only made it that much more difficult.
“It was really tough, extremely tough,” he said. “I didn’t watch at all. I might watch an inning here or an inning there, but I was unable just to sit in front of the TV and watch. They want[ed] me to go last year for some of the playoff games and World Series. But the front office understood, my teammates understood. It doesn’t do any good for me just to be in there and not be able to play. I was just last year by this time I was just rehabbing and rehabbing the knee.”
[The knee's] not completely back to where [it] was before the injury, “but I’m happy where I am right now,” he said.
It was during batting practice one day, just after the All-Star break, that Martinez felt the difference in his performance, and knew something had changed.
“It was just a matter of I was able to use my legs like I did my whole career,” he said. “And early in the season, I wasn’t using my legs. Then it was one point after the break, like early August, in went to BP one day and I was like, ‘Wow.’  I was able to use my legs more, took aggressive swings to the ball. And at that point, I was like, man, you know what, I started to get after it a little more.”
“I had that confidence that if I get after one pitch everything was going to be ok.”
Martinez left the Sox as a free agent after the 2010 season to join the Tigers. In 183 games over parts of two seasons, the switch-hitter batted .313, with a .368 OBP, and .497 SLG. But, that seems like a distant memory now.
“Kind of,” he said. “I think it makes it seem a little longer because of the year I had last year.”
And that, too, is behind him.