BOSTON -- The Red Sox added a three-time Cy Young winner to the organization Thursday. This one, however, wont be part of the rotation.
Saying he missed the competition, Pedro Martinez, who led the Sox to the 2004 World Series, returned to the organization as a special assistant to general manager Ben Cherington. He will work with pitchers at all levels in the organization.
Anything I have to do to actually help out the organization and get things better for the team and for the results, Martinez said of his duties.
I actually can read . . . mechanics and tendencies that pitchers have (pretty well). Being a pitcher for a long time allows you to learn a lot about different bodies and tendencies that we have, things that will get you hurt, angles. And Im pretty confident that I can probably read a lot of it. Also I think I can read who can pitch and who cannot.
He knows that working with young pitchers can be intimidating. Martinez -- the eight-time All-Star, two-time 20-game winner in his 18-season career, five-time major league ERA leader, whose .760 winning percentage is best in Red Sox history knows how to work around that.
You know that not everybodys going to be at your level and that everybodys unique, he said. Being honest, everybodys unique in their own ways. If you analyze my career, I have a lot of Greg Maddux, a lot of Roger Clemens, a lot of everybody that I could get my eyes on. And a little bit of Nolan Ryan. A little bit of Tom Seaver. You find a lot of little things that you analyze to try to put together to make your body of work the best . . . possible. And thats what I did.
And I believe if I can have the patience to look at the talent thats coming up and understand that theyre going to be their own way in some parts, I should be able to handle it. Im not going to force them to be like me. Its impossible to be like me. Its impossible to be like Roger. But you can also pick and choose some of the things that you can help them with and hopefully help out.
Martinez, who retired after the 2009 season, when he went 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA in nine starts with the Phillies, will be in Fort Myers for spring training for as long as the Red Sox need him.
The timing, he said, is right.
Ive been away long enough now to spend time with the family, said Martinez, who turned 41 in October. I think the situation is right. I think they need people like me that can probably relate to the players, relate to the front office, have the good communication and trust that they need right now. I think the players somehow see me a little bit like a player. They can communication with me. Im also a veteran, a real old veteran, and I can probably offer some advice to some of them about how to handle different situations.
Martinez went 117-37, with a 2.52 ERA in seven seasons with the Sox, winning two of his Cy Young awards in Boston. His role will be more advisory than coach. He doesnt want to get in the way of the coaches. But, he knows he has something the clubhouse after disastrous finishes in the last two seasons might need.
Im also fun, he said. I like to have fun and I think they need a little bit of that in the clubhouse.
Hes looking forward to working with all the pitchers hes said. One young pitcher he has already seen is Rubby De La Rosa, the fireballing right-hander the Sox got from the Dodgers in the August blockbuster trade, who immediately became one of the Sox top pitching prospects. De La Rosas grandmother was at one time the nanny for Martinez in the Dominican Republic.
Great arm. Great talent. He tops 100 mph, Martinez said of De La Rosa, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery in the 2011 season. That is going to be really interesting. He tops out in three digits sometimes and its a special talent. Its a little raw still, but I hope it matures enough where he can come back and surprise a lot of people.
But Martinez knows its important for the major-league staff to have an ace.
Thats the key, he said. You have to have number one, number two, number three, number four, number five. But the good thing is every one of them becomes number one on their turn to pitch.
Just dont expect that to be him.
Dont even think about me coming back, he said. Those three years four years that Ive been away really made it clear that I dont belong on the field anymore.