Pedro: Mental health key for Buchholz

Pedro: Mental health key for Buchholz
August 9, 2013, 10:30 am
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Clay Buchholz continues to take steps in his return to the Red Sox hopefully sooner than later. He threw from 90 feet on Thursday and is scheduled to throw off a mound on Friday.

Buchholz was at the top of his game before shoulder pain sidelined him. He hasn't pitched since June 8, but is 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA and 1.02 WHIP for the Sox this season.

Those type of numbers fall in line with a former Cy Young winner in Pedro Martinez, who is now a special assistant to GM Ben Cherington. Martinez spoke with the Boston Globe on a number of topics, including Buchholz. Buchholz met with by Dr. James Andrews, and no structural damage or red flags were found in any MRI's taken. Martinez knows that while Buchholz physically is OK, he must also be there mentally.

“First of all, if he’s healthy, he knows how to pitch,” said Martinez. “Keeping his composure mentally, especially to stay focused for a whole year, is what makes the difference between Cy Young and a guy with all the abilities that never clicks. The mental aspect is how much you are willing to sacrifice.”

Martinez is one of the most beloved Sox figures in recent history. But his No. 45 has not been retired by the team, despite his good relationship with them and excellent statistics. He's not concerned about that though.

“I just think the Red Sox are more conservative and they like to do things right when they do it,” he said. “Now that I’ve been around Fenway and the Boston Red Sox as an organization, I noticed they are very unique the way they do things.”

But what may tick him off a bit more is the fact that he is without an MVP award, perhaps having deserved one in 1999. Martinez finished with more first place votes than the winner, Ivan Rodriguez, but he was left off two ballots entirely, awarding Rodriguez more points.

Since then, however, more voters have clearly changed their stances on pitchers being eligible to win the MVP award. Justin Verlander won it two years ago.

“Why did they give it to Verlander? Since I left, has everybody changed their mind on voting for pitchers as MVP? Verlander’s numbers didn’t compare to mine. Nowhere near."

In 1999, Martinez went 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA and 313 strikeouts. Verlander went 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA and 250 strikeouts in 2011 when he won MVP.