Martinez wants to be more hands-on with Sox players

Martinez wants to be more hands-on with Sox players
February 26, 2014, 4:00 pm
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A year ago, in his first season working as a special assistant for the Red Sox, Pedro Martinez was content to dip his toe into the waters.
     
This year, he's eager to more fully immerse himself.
     
Initially, Martinez was unsure of how much time he wanted to devote to working with the organization's young pitchers, mindful of his responsibility to his family after his playing career was over.
     
But the experience was fruitful and rewarding enough that Martinez would now like more.
     
"Definitely, I want to be more involved with the players," said Martinez. "I would like to do a little bit less of the public appearances that they had me doing last year. Because when you get the results that I got from talking to (Drake) Britton, (Rubby) De La Rosa, (Brandon) Workman, (Allen Webster), you feel like a proud father and you want to be around your sons. That's what I want.
     
"I was just going blind, trying (to contribute). But now I know that my influence can help a lot of those kids and I would like to spend more time with them . . . It's just that I think I have so much to offer, stuff that I'm not going to have to put into use anymore, so I might as well pass it along. I'm trying to do that. I'm trying to get more involved in baseball, more with the young players, the veteran players -- whoever needs me."
     
One of Martinez's biggest projects from last year was lefty Drake Britton. Britton was arrested in spring training on a DUI charge and Martinez counseled him extensively on how to bounce back from his mistake.
     
"I was honest with him," recounted Martinez. "I was straight-forward with him and I told him exactly what I would have wanted to hear if I was in the same situation. I talked about his stuff, trusting his stuff, about his personal life, how he should treat some of the things that were happening and how much of a battle he wanted to put up after things like that happen.
     
"I'm extremely proud of him, extremely proud to see him overcome all of that and pay me back. That's all I wanted, to see him have success. And to see him at the end of the year, pitching so well and doing so well for the team, it really made me like a proud father. He took (the advice) with maturity. Not only that, he took the right approach toward it. He did great. The credit doesn't go to me, it goes to him, for doing what he was supposed to do."
     
A new crop of pitchers who've yet to reach the big leagues await his attention and Martinez is impressed with the quality and quantity of the organization's pitching prospects.
     
"A lot more than I was used to seeing," marveled Martinez. "It's a good collection of big, strong guys -- and hard-throwers. And so young and so talented."
     
Among those who caught Martinez's eye: Anthony Ranaudo and Henry Owens.
     
"I thought Ranaudo was going to get a chance (to pitch in the big leagues last year)," said Martinez. "But because of the history, with his arm problems, I think he was delayed a little bit more, just to be cautious. I think that was the first full year he was pitching in a few.
     
"Owens, he's a natural. I think it's just a matter of keeping them healthy. Before you know it, they're going to be up. Those guys are going to be up. I was really impressed with the material we have in the minor leagues."