Victor Martinez settling into his new digs

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Victor Martinez settling into his new digs

Associated Press
DETROIT -- As Victor Martinezprepares to spend more time at designated hitter, he can look back onadvice he once received from former teammate Travis Hafner, who hasbeen among baseball's best at that specialized role."He told me that you have to do alot. Maybe people think that it's easy to be a DH. It's hard," Martinezsaid. "You have to keep warm. You've got to go into the weight room andrun the bike and do stuff, stretch yourself. You can't just sit therefor a half an hour, an hour, until you get at bat again and just go outthere and hit. It's not like that."
With a smile on his face andexcitement in his voice, Martinez was at Comerica Park on Saturday forTigerFest, Detroit's annual winter fan event. The Tigers signedMartinez this offseason, and they hope the 32-year-old switch-hitterwill be part of a powerful middle of the batting order that alsoincludes Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez.Martinez has been a catcherthroughout his career, but general manager Dave Dombrowski has saidhe'll be the team's primary DH. He's still expected to fill in behindthe plate at times, but Martinez may need to adjust after starting 106games at catcher last season with the Boston Red Sox."I came here to win," Martinez said."If they need me to play DH, I'll be a DH. If they need me behind theplate, I'll be behind the plate."Martinez hit .302 with 20 home runsand 79 RBIs in 127 games with Boston last season. If he produces likethat again, it will be a nice boost for a Detroit team that is tryingto contend for the AL Central title after going 81-81 in 2010.Martinez is familiar with Detroitafter playing for division foe Cleveland from 2002-09. He hit acareer-high 25 homers for the Indians in 2007, when they came withinone victory of reaching the World Series with him as their catcher andHafner as the designated hitter."I was in this division pretty muchmy whole career, and I always liked the way the Tigers approached theirorganization, their team," Martinez said. "This organization - theyjust want to get better."Alex Avila is expected to beDetroit's No. 1 catcher. He hit just .228 last year, but he'll be eightyears younger than Martinez on opening day and should have everyopportunity to improve as a hitter.Avila says he's looking forward to working with Martinez."It's going to be a nice marriagebetween us, as far as the catching and both of us working with thepitching staff, and obviously producing offensively to help the teamwin," Avila said. "It should make for a good partnership."Martinez, who can also play firstbase, started more games at catcher last season than he had since 2007,and it didn't appear to hurt his hitting. Still, the Tigers added himfor his bat, not his glove, and they probably wouldn't mind reducinghis grueling workload behind the plate if it helps him stay healthy andeffective offensively."It's tough," Detroit manager JimLeyland said. "There's an old saying that the first couple at-batsduring the course of the game weren't too bad, but for catchers, as thegame went on, the third and fourth at-bats, it gets a little tough."Perhaps the one concern surroundingMartinez is his career .225 average at Comerica Park. He's hit onlyfour homers there in 169 at-bats.Martinez is quick to creditDetroit's pitchers for that - and now he won't have to face themanymore. As for the ballpark's effect on his home run total, he'll justtry to hit the ball to the gaps and see what happens."I say myself, I'm not a home runhitter. I hit my 20, but I'm more a line drive hitter," Martinez said."I might hit some triples. Watch out."That's quite a statement from Martinez, who has three triples in his entire career, but right now anything seems possible."I'm like a little kid with a newtoy," Martinez said. "I just want to get this thing started. I can'twait. This is going to be a fun ride."

Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz the oldest to hit 30 home runs in a season

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Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz the oldest to hit 30 home runs in a season

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays:

QUOTES:

"It's one of those freak things. You don't plan on it happening, but it's one of those things. So we'll just see what the results say and move on from there.'' - Andrew Benintendi on his knee injury.

"That's kind of a routine 3-1 play. Unfortunately, it comes at a time when you've got two outs and a guy on the move. But that's a routine play.'' - John Farrell on the deciding play in which Heath Hembree couldn't hold onto the ball at first.

"I felt good. I felt strong.I felt good out there the whole game.'' - Rick Porcello, asked how he felt going back out for the eighth inning.

"I think everybody in the ballpark knew that that ball was leaving.'' - Porcello, on the hanging curveball to Evan Longoria.

 

NOTES:

* The loss snapped a five-game winning streak against the Rays for the Red Sox.

* Three of the four Red Sox walk-off losses this season have occurred because of errors.

* The homer by Evan Longoria was his first off Rick Porcello in 40 career at-bats.

* Rick Porcello has now pitched seven innings or more in six straight starts, the longest run for a Red Sox starter since John Lackey did it in 2013.

* David Ortiz is now the oldest player to ever hit 30 homers in a season

* Ortiz has now reached the 30-homer, 100-RBI level 10 times with the Red Sox, including the last four years in a row.

* The loss was the first of Heath Hembree's career, in his 67th major league appearance.

* Dustin Pedroia tied a career high with two stolen bases, the 12th time he's swiped two bases in the same game.

 

STARS:

1) Evan Longoria

The Rays were down to their final five outs when Longoria struck, hitting a game-tying homer off Rick Porcello.

2) Brad Miller

Miller's two-run double in the third enabled the Rays to stay close until Longoria's homer tied things up five innings later.

3) Rick Porcello

Porcello gave the Sox length and was brilliant in getting out of some early jams before settling in through the middle innings.

 

Shaughnessy: Everything Farrell does blows up in his face, particularly in 8th inning

Shaughnessy: Everything Farrell does blows up in his face, particularly in 8th inning

Dan Shaughnessy joins Sports Tonight to discuss Rick Porcello giving up a game-tying homerun in the 8th, and explains why John Farrell has been very unlucky with any decision he makes.

First impressions: Benintendi injured in Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Rays

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First impressions: Benintendi injured in Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays:

 

The injury to Andrew Benintendi looked ominous.

Benintendi's left leg buckled as he tried to elude a tag on the bases in the seventh inning. He left the game with the help of two trainers, hobbling badly.

The Sox later announced that Benintendi suffered a left knee sprain, and will be further evaluated Thursday.

It's impossible to determine how serious the injury is. The prognosis could be anywhere from a few days, to, potentially, a season-ending issue.

Regardless, it's a blow to the Sox, who clearly have benefited from Benintendi's athleticism and energy in the three weeks since he's been promoted from Double A.

 

Rick Porcello is gobbling up innings in the second half.

Porcello gave the Sox 7 2/3 innings Wednesday night, allowing three runs. It marked the sixth straight start in which Porcello provided the Sox with a minimum of seven innings.

Through the end of June, Porcello had pitched seven or more innings just four times. Since the start of July, he's done it seven times -- and came within an out of doing it in another start.

Porcello also extended his streak of pitching at least five innings to 34 straight starts, dating back almost a calendar year to Aug. 26 of last year. Of those 34, he's pitched at least six in 31 of those.

In fact, Porcello leads the majors in innings pitched since that streak began.

 

David Ortiz continues to amaze

In the first inning, Ortiz walloped a pitch into the right field seats for his 30th homer, giving the Sox a 2-0 lead three batters into the game.

The homer was significant beyond that, too. With it, Ortiz reached two milestones -- 30 homers and 100 RBI for the season.

It marked the fourth straight season in which Ortiz has reached both, and it also marked the 10th time as a member of the Sox that he had hit both plateaus.

The homer also meant that Ortiz is now the oldest player - at 40 years, 280 days old -- to hit 30 homers in a season. And finally, it gave Ortiz 100 RBI seasons with the Sox, passing Ted Williams, with whom he had shared the record of nine.

And, remarkably, there's more than a month left in the season to add on to those achievements.