Out of nowhere, Yankee catcher Russell Martin -- who nearly signed with Boston last winter -- declared Thursday that he "hates the Red Sox" and "anything to get the Red Sox out of the playoffs would be awesome with me".
And how, pray tell, did Martin -- who played the first five seasons of his career with the Dodgers and only joined the Yanks last offseason -- develop this hatred?
"I guess it just comes with the territory," Martin said. "When you wear the pinstripes, you just kind of learn to be that way."
He added: "They are fun to play against because they have a quality team and they are gritty and they play hard and stuff, but I would love to see them lose."
Manager Joe Girardi smiled when told of Martin's comments, but was quick to add he doesn't hate the Red Sox and doesn't want to add intensity to the rivalry.
"I don't ever like to fuel anything," Girardi said. "Boys will be boys."
It was suggested to Martin that the Yankees, who host three games against the Sox this weekend, would do well to eliminate Boston from the playoff race, since they're 4-11 against the Sox this year.
"They have given us a hard time all year, but I don't think we are scared of them or anything," Martin said. "If we play them in the playoffs, we play them."
Martin added he doesn't hate the Rays or the Angels, the two teams battling the Red Sox for the wild card.
Mitch Moreland and Sam Travis hit three-run homers and left-hander Brian Johnson started and pitched two scoreless innings to help the Red Sox win their spring training opener, 9-6, over Northeastern University on Thursday in Fort Myers, Fla.
Johnson, who made one spot start in his MLB debut with the Red Sox in 2015 but then was derailed by injuries and anxiety issues last season, struck out three and walked one Thursday. He's expected to start the season at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he went 5-6 with a 4.44 ERA in 15 starts in 2016.
Moreland, the left-handed hitting first baseman signed to a one-year deal after spending his first seven seasons with the Texas Rangers, and Travis, a right-handed hitting first base prospect coming back from knee surgery last season, each hit three-run homers in a six-run third inning.
Pablo Sandoval, attempting to reclaim the third-base job after missing nearly all of last season after surgery on his left shoulder, went 1-for-2 with a double.
The Red Sox open Grapefruit League play Friday afternoon when they host the New York Mets at JetBlue Park.
CSN baseball analyst Lou Merloni sits down with Pedro Martinez and Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis to discuss one of Pedro's greatest games.
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On September 10, 1999 at the height of the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry, Pedro Martinez struck out 17 Yankees in a complete game victory, with the only hit he allowed being a home run to Chili Davis. The two men recall that memorable night in the Bronx, and discuss the state of pitching in 2017.