News about Pedro Martinez, Red Sox pitcher, for the 2001 Boston Red Soxseason (April 8-15)

pedro martinez

News Archive for April 1-10, 2002
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April 10, 2002

Manager places order and lineup delivers
Bob Ryan, Boston Globe

Jason Varitek batting ninth? Now that’s a major league lineup. … The residence ought to be temporary, since the skipper has let it be known he is engaged in an official experimentation process with regard to his lineups. … ”I let the team know that for about two weeks I’ll be looking at different things,” said Little. ”The players are going to make the lineup by their production, and to see what situations you want to see pitchers in, and everything else. To be honest, it’s going to take that long.”

Red Sox Notebook
Michael Smith and Gordon Edes, Boston Globe

Though not official, the pitching matchups for the Yankees series this weekend figure to be Roger Clemens against Darren Oliver Friday; David Wells vs. Pedro Martinez Saturday; Mike Mussina against Tim Wakefield Sunday; and Orlando Hernandez vs. Derek Lowe Monday.

Time to put Bonds in greatest ever debate
Jayson Stark,

“He’s beginning to make a case for himself as arguably being maybe the greatest player to ever play the game.” –Dodgers manager Jim Tracy, on Barry Bonds

The Greatest Player to Ever Play the Game. Those are words nobody ought to bat around willy-nilly like fungoes.

2001 Projections – A Look Back; Projections Part I
Voros McCracken,

It’s time once again to take a look at how the various projections did for the 2001 Season. In 2000, I looked at a bunch of various projection systems and how well they did in projecting the actual results of the various players. I looked at the top 170 players in terms of plate appearances (with some exceptions) and how each system did in projecting OPS. The results of that exercise can be found here.

For Marlins, season’s home debut is ‘different’ — Game not a sellout, the visitors win, odd things happen
By Susan Miller Degnan, Miami Herald

It wasn’t a typical opening night, that’s for sure. A rocket man flying through the outfield. A laser show seemingly gone awry. A sea of magnets angrily tossed onto the playing field. A mass exodus in the sixth inning. … there were no programs [for sale].

Topps Co. made latest high bid
Associated Press

New York-based The Topps Co. bid $3,200 Monday on the gum that Arizona Diamondbacks slugger Luis Gonzalez chewed and discarded at a spring baseball game in Tucson, Ariz., last month. [A follow-up to a news link of April 5]

April 9, 2002

Red Sox Notebook
Bob Hohler, Boston Globe

Pedro Martinez, who made substantial improvements Sunday in holding the Orioles to just one unearned run over six innings for his first victory in 10 months, also worked out and was said to be experiencing no trouble with his fragile shoulder. …

On the roller to third that broke up Derek Lowe’s no-hit bid Friday, Little said the replay indicated the ball may have gone foul, but added, ”Nobody will ever know.” Well, third baseman Shea Hillenbrand thinks he knows. ”Only two people could see that ball – the umpire and me,” Hillenbrand said. ”I talked to the umpire at third base, and he said, ‘There’s no way that ball is going foul. No way.”’

Yanks will be Pedro’s real test
Joe Murphy, Eagle-Tribune

Let’s just say the jury is still out. Pitching success against the Baltimore Orioles shouldn’t be considered proof positive. Sure, Pedro Martinez went six innings of three-hit, five-strikeout ball, but the Orioles couldn’t hit their weight, what with more guys under .200 than over it. Pedro will get a real test when the Yankees come to town for a four-game series starting Friday. Pedro will pitch Saturday and then he’ll be up against a major league team.

Martinez puts fears to rest
Ken Powers, Worcester Telegram & Gazette

What a difference a week — or even just a weekend — makes. Seven days ago, Red Sox fans were fearful their diamond delights were coming apart at the seams. … Three days and three wins later, the bloom, which was off the team so quickly, is back on. Red Sox fans are hoping the winning ways continue at 6:05 tonight when Boston opens a seven-game homestand with the first of three games against Kansas City. … 

Martinez deserves Hall spot
Ron Chimelis, Springfield Union-News

Please understand, before we begin, that Sunday’s game in Baltimore moves this discussion out of the realm of the immediate, and back into the world of the hypothetical. … So here’s the hypothetical question: if it all ended for Pedro right now, has he done enough to earn election to baseball’s Hall of Fame? Is he there yet, and if not, what must he still do?

Batting Around with Grady Little
Ian Browne,

The past month or so has been a whirlwind for Grady Little. He began the spring as the Indians bench coach. Then he became manager of the Boston Red Sox on March 11. Though landing his first Major League managerial job was something to celebrate for Little, he didn’t have time. He was too busy getting his team ready for Opening Day. Little did, however, find some time to reflect on landing the Red Sox job, as well as some of his overall managing philosophies, with

A baseball bible, the James version
Bob Ryan, Boston Globe

If you profess to being someone who really cares about baseball, you should be familiar with Bill James, who is to late 20th/early 21st century baseball what Alexander Cartwright and Henry Chadwick were to the 19th. … There are any number of so-called Sabrematicians and assorted baseball numerologists, but 25 years after James first appeared on the scene, he stands apart, as much for the superb quality of his writing as for the intriguing nature of his statistical findings.

“Good pitching long, long gone”
Posted by Rich Rifkin,

I have no idea why, but this story was actually on the front page of this morning’s Bee. While the author hurts his argument with some patently false statements and poor logic, I think it’s still interesting to discuss the relative improvement of offense (or decline in pitching) in baseball over the past 34 years.

Bonds Joke Sweeping the Nation

Following San Francisco slugger/protein addict Barry Bonds’s two home run performances on both Tuesday and Wednesday, thousands of broadcasters, journalists, and sharp-witted fans across the country have garnered mild laughter and polite chuckles by noting that the slugger is on pace for 324 homers this year. …

“See, it’s funny because he’s only played in two games, and he already has four homers,” explained SportsYap radio host Jerry “The Jazzman” Harper of Denver. “If he plays all 162 games keeps hitting two homers per game, he’ll end up with 324 homers. Get it? It’s kind of subtle irony, but real baseball fans think it’s hilarious.”

Another Week, Another Set of Quotes About Walks
Derek Zumsteg,

“To think about walking, that’s not a good attitude to step into the batter’s box with. It’s more a situation that comes up and if the count dictates it, maybe that will enter your mind. But you can’t ever think of a walk as being a goal … Of course, if I would get more walks and it would help the team, it would be a good thing but that’s not even in my mind yet.” –Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners outfielder

“I’m going to walk at least 40 times this year.” –Shea Hillenbrand, Red Sox infielder

“That takes the aggressiveness out of the hitter. I think you need to work the count. You have to be aware of the pitches you can handle. Look in your zone and get a good aggressive swing. The walks will come if you know what pitch you can handle.” –Greg Gross, Phillies hitting coach, on walking

April 8, 2002

Links to stories about Pedro’s Sunday start against the Orioles.

Give Pedro some time
Tom Verducci’s Baseball Mailbag,

Q: How concerned should we Red Sox fans be about Pedro’s Opening Day nightmare? Obviously, if he’s not healthy, we have no chance of a wild card. Is he just lacking arm strength at this point, or is this going to be a long-term problem?

A: Remember, Pedro hasn’t pitched since last June (not counting 13 innings when he should not have been out there). I don’t think he is finishing his pitches with the same extension he had during his Cy Young seasons. Whether that is due to rust or the effects of his injury is the great unknown. The best young pitcher I ever saw was Dwight Gooden. But as he grew heavier and stronger after rehabbing his shoulder, he lost some of that natural looseness in his arm and consequently lost some of the late life off his fastball. Is that happening to Pedro now that he’s gained 15 pounds? Hard to say. I do know this: Don’t write off this guy just yet. He’s a competitor with a big heart, and you don’t rule out guys like that. You have to give Pedro 12-15 starts before you really begin to wonder.

Cheer up — Pitching woes aside, Red Sox have reason to be optimistic
Stephen Cannella,

Forget about the Pedro Panic for a moment. It was only one game, but Boston, which finished in the middle of the pack last season in runs scored, showed on Opening Day its offense can be explosive. … The more important signs of hope, however, are in the clubhouse, where the only reminder of the disharmonious Carl Everett Era is the picture that hangs above Manny Ramirez’s locker of the slugger and Carl arm-in-arm. … The atmosphere is much better now. New manager Grady Little, a favorite of most of the players, gets credit for that, but so does the new ownership group. … Will the harmony still be there if the Sox are 12 games out in June? Who knows, but the early signs are encouraging.

Both the New York Post and New York Daily News report that the 2002
baseball season is over — that was fast!! — and the Yankees are the champions.

Kevin Kernan, New York Post: “This is why the race is over before it ever begins. … [The Yankees] will own the AL East for at least the next decade. … These Yankees far outclass every team in the division and the league. Bargain basement free-agent pickup Ron Coomer, think of him as a Mini-me Giambi … … the star-studded lineup and the invincible pitching staff. These Yankees will breeze through the East because of their starting pitching. … New Yankee radio voice Charley Steiner …feels this Yankee team will win the race in the East in the same runaway fashion as “Secretariat.” No matter the margin of victory, that is merely Step One of The Plan. Then comes the divisional series, the ALCS and the World Series.”

Bill Madden, New York Daily News: “[G]ood chemistry figures to be more easily achieved [by Joe Torre and the Yankees] playing 76 games against the dregs of the AL East (and with Pedro Martinez’s shoulder looking more and more suspect and John Burkett on the DL and Dustin Hermanson perhaps headed there, we’re including the Red Sox in that category).

Filip Bondy, New York Daily News: [Headline: Add Roger, and AL’s Over & Out] “If this season doesn’t get warmer or more competitive soon, Joe Torre might as well start resting his starters and setting up his rotation for the playoffs.”

It’s amazing what a few wins over Tampa Bay will do for a club!

April 7, 2002

Ready to go
Bob Hohler, Boston Globe

After five days of intense self-evaluation, Pedro Martinez will take his second crack of the season today at regaining his nonpareil form. He appeared heartened to have discovered he had not been fully using his legs in his delivery, which he believes altered his arm angle and, by extension, his control. Little said he expects Martinez to throw between 85 and 95 pitches. He threw 84 against the Jays, who pounded him for eight runs (seven earned) on nine hits, two walks and two hit batsmen. Martinez’s teammates have seen his spirits rise during the week. “His body language and the expression on his face tells me a lot,” Little said. “I can’t wait until he gets a chance to pitch again.”

Pedro adjusts
Jeff Horrigan, Boston Herald

Pedro Martinez will be working on an 85-95 pitch count today, according to manager Grady Little, who believes his ace will rebound from his disastrous Opening Day outing. Martinez studied videos for five days and was confident that he’d discovered a delivery flaw – that he was not using enough of a leg drive. … Martinez, by the way, wasn’t amused by an errant report on New York’s WFAN on Friday that he’d undergo shoulder surgery.

All eyes remain on Pedro
Tony Massarotti, Boston Herald

To date, we have no reason to believe Martinez is suffering from any kind of shoulder pain or discomfort. The pitcher continues to insist he is fine and Sox officials are operating under the premise that Martinez is experiencing no physical problems. Until further notice, that is a fact. …

In peak form, Martinez will throw roughly 10 curveballs among every 40 pitches — 25 percent — which translates into 25 curves for every 100-pitch outing. He throws roughly the same number of changeups, making the balance of his pitches fastballs and cut fastballs. (He typically mixes in the latter only a handful of times per game.)

Yet, on Monday against Toronto, Martinez threw only about a half-dozen curveballs among his 84 pitches, less than 10 percent. (He still threw approximately 20 changeups — nearly 25 percent.) Part of the reason may been the cold Fenway Park temperatures, which make the ball slick and affect Martinez’ grip. But part also may have been Martinez’ reluctance to throw the curve because, as he revealed in the finals days if spring training, that is the element of his repertoire that puts the most strain on his shoulder.

Palmer not ready to close book on Martinez this early
Michael Holley, Boston Globe

These days, people talk about Pedro Martinez as if he were a book rather than a man. Pedro has been studied. Pedro has been examined closely for any hidden meanings. Pedro has been the main topic in dozens of discussion groups. … A lot of the talk was grim and depressing, but none of it came from Jim Palmer. The Hall of Fame pitcher has a couple things in common with Martinez. Both men can sit down and talk about the trio of Cy Young Awards that they own. And both of them can say that they tore rotator cuffs and chose not to repair them with surgery.

“I won 245 games after I tore mine,” Palmer said yesterday at Camden Yards. … He didn’t say that Martinez is too small to be a longtime dominant starter. He didn’t say that Martinez reminds him of former Yankee Ron (161 pounds) Guidry. … He didn’t say that Martinez never will be the same pitcher after the tear in his shoulder.

Pedro Falters, and a Nation Mourns — Health of Boston Ace Is a Pressing Concern
Dave Sheinin, Washington Post

If it were any other pitcher on any other team in any other market, today’s outing by the visiting team’s starting pitcher at Oriole Park at Camden Yards could be shrugged off as simply another right-hander trying to find his way back from a shoulder injury. But it’s Pedro Martinez, and it’s the Red Sox, and — judging from the angst of Red Sox Nation — the fate of civilization is hanging in the balance. …

Minnesota Twins union representative Denny Hocking had this to say about Commissioner Bud Selig’s questioning a Forbes magazine report that 20 out of 30 MLB teams turned profits last season: “Gee, should I believe a magazine that spends 365 days a year researching finances, or someone who has zero credibility?”

April 6, 2002

Pedro at peace after tune-up, blow-up
Michael Silverman, Boston Herald

Buck Martinez’ distress over Pedro Martinez’ stroll through the Toronto Blue Jays clubhouse Wednesday was not stressing out the Sox ace yesterday. Pedro Martinez was not stressing about much actually.

Mostly amused by the aftermath of the walkthrough episode, he was genuinely enthused about the prospect of walking away with better results in his start against the Orioles tomorrow. His confidence stemmed from Wednesday’s breakthrough side session, just before the visit with Toronto. “I had some good side sessions (this spring) but one like this one, where I just threw the ball really hard like it was a game and threw my breaking ball like it was in a game, no, I never did that in spring training. But this is the time to do it, the time to make some adjustments.”

By using video from a complete-game victory he had with the Expos against the Tigers on June 14, 1997, and comparing it to Monday’s outing, Martinez saw enough to realize what is wrong. Rather than using his legs to drive his delivery, Martinez relied on his bulked-up upper body to do the work.

[Box score of that 1997 game; Pedro’s line: 9 IP 3H, 0R, 2BB 14K]

Pedro responds to Buck’s clubhouse visit criticism
Associated Press

Pedro Martinez thinks Toronto manager Buck Martinez was uninformed and out of line for criticizing the pitcher’s brief appearance in the Blue Jays’ clubhouse Wednesday. …

“If he felt so anxious to have someone take a swing at me, why didn’t he come and do it? It’s not like it’s all that easy to come up and pop one at me. If you want to pop me, go ahead and take his chances. He doesn’t have to send (Shannon) Stewart to do it. He can always come himself and do it — and see what he’s going to get. … What could I do there? Steal a glove? Steal a bat? Get autographs from the other guys? … Go steal a sign from Buck? I have a hard time remembering my signs from my catcher. Imagine stealing someone else’s?” …

Pedro Martinez was surprised to hear Buck Martinez react in such an angry fashion, given the rapport they’ve had in the past. “He was always nice to me when he’s working in television and radio. I never thought he’d say something like that. I actually had a lot of respect for him. I had and I have. I just don’t understand why he would make a comment like that, especially not even asking me why I went over. If he comes up to me and goes, ‘Pedro, that’s wrong.’ Then I would take off and appreciate his advice.”

Fine tuning amid turmoil
Bob Hohler, Boston Globe

Buck Martinez: “If I was Shannon Stewart, I’ve got to think of taking a pop at him or something.”

Pedro Martinez: “If you want to pop one in, just go ahead and take your chances. He doesn’t have to send Stewart to do it. He can always come himself and do it if he wants to.” …

Martinez identified the flaw in his mechanics by watching a video of his 1-0, complete-game victory over the Tigers when he was pitching for the Expos in 1997. “I’ve always referred to that game because I felt so much in command and so good about my mechanics. I felt like I made very few mistakes that day.” By checking the tape, Martinez discovered he was not using the full power of his legs in his delivery. … He has thrown in the bullpen since making the discovery and reported significant improvement.

To Little, it was a crucial development. “It means his concern for his shoulder is going away. I knew when he got over that fear of the pain that he would start thinking about the other things that make him a great pitcher.”

Martinez calm after viewing horror flick
Phil O’Neill, Worcester Telegram & Gazette

The Red Sox ace said he has watched videos of Monday’s game, when he gave up 8 runs on 9 hits in 3-plus innings, and they showed he wasn’t using his legs at all. He’s thrown since with much better results, he said. “I won’t really be able to tell until I get in a game, but it felt better. The thing is I feel so strong in the upper body it makes me believe I can do anything with the ball.” … “The real Pedro Martinez will show up in a few days,” Grady Little said.

Cheating ranks among baseball’s creative traditions
Jeff Miller, Miami Herald

What’s [our] favorite baseball tradition? Cheating. … Marlins outfielder Cliff Floyd: “Everybody’s out there doing their thing. Everybody.” … [M]aybe it’s Mike Bordick, noticing a hitter was jammed, tossing the ball to the pitcher and not the umpire, trying to take advantage of any transferred pine tar. “There have been times,” the Orioles shortstop says, “when I’ve seen the pitcher look at the ball and his eyes light up.” …

Moises Alou hit two home runs off Orel Hershiser in the 1997 World Series. Only later did he admit he knew what Hershiser was throwing by the way he held his glove. The Diamondbacks identified a similar flaw in Andy Pettitte during Game 2 of last year’s World Series. In Game 6, they scored six runs off him in two innings. … We would suggest borrowing a line from George Bamberger, who, during a mound meeting, once advised, “If you can cheat, I wouldn’t wait one pitch longer.”

Baseball Preview Presented as Haikus

New York Yankees:

Five out in August?
“Yawn,” says Mr. Steinbrenner.
“Buy Walker and Bonds.”

Boston Red Sox:

Not quite another
Spahn and Sain and pray for rain.
Try Pedro and floods.

April 5, 2002

Ace has leg up on solution
Karen Guregian, Boston Globe

During Wednesday night’s second rain delay, the water-logged fans who hung around Fenway Park were treated to a medley of Pedro Martinez highlights on the center field video board. Inside the Red Sox clubhouse, Martinez was indulging himself to the same, only he had a private screening, poring over his own version of the best of Pedro films. …

Well, during Wednesday night’s rainout and again yesterday after another session in the video room, it did. While we’ve been fretting about his damaged shoulder, and his mental state with respect to being afraid to throw and let loose with such an injury, Martinez says we’ve all been looking in the wrong direction.

Why? Because after studying the videos, he’s now convinced his legs are causing some of the problem with his changed, and obviously flawed, mechanics. “I’m not letting this (pointing to his legs) work,” Martinez said Wednesday night. “I’m just throwing with my upper body and arm because I feel so strong. I feel like I can pull everything from there. But that means I’m not using my mechanics as well. Looking at the video, I found a huge difference. I wasn’t using anything with my lower body. That’s probably what got me in trouble with my location. My arm slot is not consistent probably for the same reason.”

Pedro visits Blue Jays’ clubhouse during rain delay
Associated Press

Buck Martinez has a message for Pedro Martinez: Stay out of my clubhouse. And the Toronto manager is displeased with any Blue Jays player who might have made the Red Sox pitcher welcome Wednesday night. … “That’s uncalled for. I don’t understand the mentality of a player being in another player’s locker room. If I was Shannon Stewart, I’ve got to think of taking a pop at him or something. … He had just drilled (Stewart) in the back. And your teammates welcome him into the clubhouse?”

Open-door policy irks Martinez — Toronto manager rips Pedro’s trip
Gordon Edes, Boston Globe

Buck Martinez. vented about the incident yesterday in Toronto before the Blue Jays’ home opener, perhaps unaware of one important element: Pedro Martinez didn’t elect to take that route. … Red Sox executive vice president Charles Steinberg: ”If the safest way to get Pedro back to the Red Sox clubhouse was through a creative route, I would believe that everyone involved would understand.”

Globe columnist Jackie MacMullan, who had accompanied Martinez during his stint at Gate A, which is much closer to the visiting clubhouse than the Sox clubhouse, confirmed that Martinez did not elect to go through the visiting clubhouse. ”He had no choice,” she said. ”He was ushered there. There was a mob of people there. The security people did a great job of protecting him. They hustled him right into the Toronto clubhouse.” Once inside, according to MacMullan, Martinez dallied no more than a minute or two, during which a couple of Toronto players greeted him. Then he went through the dugout tunnel and walked across the field.

Bosox ace draws anger for visiting Jays quarters — Martinez plans to ban opponents from clubhouse
Mark Zwolinski, Toronto Star

Jays manager Buck Martinez feels Pedro Martinez made a big mistake hanging around with several players in the Jays’ Fenway Park clubhouse a day after pitching against them. He feels his players made an even bigger mistake allowing the Boston Red Sox ace to even enter their quarters. … Buck Martinez said he will likely instill a rule of conduct preventing such situations from happening again.

After pounding, a loss goes on Garces’s record
Gordon Edes, Boston Globe

It may have taken just one play for the Fenway Park skeptics to discover that the Rich Garces of 2002 is not the same guy who by himself used to fill a stadium JumboTron. That nimble-footed fellow who quickly moved to snag Shannon Stewart’s comebacker in the eighth inning of the Sox opener (four days later, still the only game the team has played) was none other than El Guapo himself. … His weight when he reported to spring training a year ago? ”I weighed 290 pounds,” Garces said. ”And my body fat was 27 percent.” The numbers this spring: ”I’m at 248 pounds,” Garces said the other day, ”and my body fat is 17.5 percent.”

Gonzo’s game-used gum up for bid
Darren Rovell,

A wad of Bazooka bubble gum supposedly spit out by Luis Gonzalez of the Arizona Diamondbacks during a spring training game has been up for bid on “” for a week.

Check out the Gonzo Gum page. One of the “no contraction” items for sale:

April 4, 2002

Star’s search Martinez looks for some answers
Bob Hohler, Boston Globe

Think it was painful watching the Blue Jays pummel Pedro Martinez on Opening Day? Put yourself in his spikes. Two days after his unsettling season debut, Martinez yesterday was searching for answers to his pitching woes almost anywhere he might find them (”You could even give me advice and I would probably listen,” he told reporters). He also made clear he was mystified about what may lie ahead in his humbling journey back from a serious shoulder injury.

”I’m a rookie at this,” he said somberly. ”I’ve never been hurt. It’s the first time I’m experiencing this. Who knows how long it’s going to take me. I have no idea.” … he indicated that the worst part is the uncertainty, which he appears to have accepted with a measure of sadness. ”Honestly, I have no idea how to react to injuries,” he said. ”All I can do is just go out there and wonder. I don’t know anything else to do at this point.”

Martinez said he feels no pain in his right shoulder after rehabilitating from a slight tear and fraying in his rotator cuff. If he did feel pain, he has said repeatedly, he would stop pitching, at least until it receded. After playing catch Tuesday, he threw yesterday afternoon in the bullpen.

A turn at gates is just his style
Jackie MacMullan, Boston Globe

I am Pedro Martinez. I have just come off the worst performance of my sparkling baseball career, and in exactly 3 minutes 20 seconds, I will position myself at a Red Sox turnstile and greet my fans. …

I am Pedro Martinez, and there are scores of bodies pressing toward me. They are coming at me from all sides, like fans at a general admission rock concert, but my smile does not waver. ”Who is coming to my gate?” I ask cheerfully, as I sign the first baseball thrust into my face. ”Welcome to Fenway!” …

I am Pedro Martinez, and all of Red Sox Nation is gravely concerned about my right shoulder, and the seven earned runs I gave up Monday. Yet the fans that come through my turnstile do not mention this. … The reporter who is following me asks if I am surprised that none of the fans inquire about my health. I smile and explain to her that yelling at me from the stands, or dissecting me on the radio doesn’t take nearly as much courage as looking a man squarely in the eye and speaking what’s on your mind.

”These fans pay their good money to watch me pitch,” I say. ”They buy my jersey. They almost feel like I am their property. They forget that I am human. But tonight they come and they see me, and suddenly I am a real person. The same guy, who on the first day I pitched was saying, ‘Ah, Pedro, what’s wrong with you?’ is walking through here tonight, saying, `Good luck this year. Good luck.”’

I am Pedro Martinez, and I have been at the turnstile for almost 20 minutes, and my smile is waning. … Two elderly women push through my turnstile, pat my cheek, and announce, ”We got Pedro! We hit the jackpot!”

Sox get up close, personal with fans
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald

Autograph signing wasn’t supposed to be part of the mission, but as the constant, disorganized glut of fans wedged through the narrow steel frames of Fenway Park’s Gate A, Pedro Martinez kept scribbling. “Welcome to Fenway Park,” he said repeatedly, with the practiced, elegant style of a doorman at the Ritz. … the ecstatic crush of believers was a familiar sight for Martinez. Back home in the Dominican Republic, adoring, clutching crowds are guaranteed whenever he heads out in public.

Red Sox players greet fans at Fenway
Ian Browne,

As waves of fans flooded through the turnstiles at Fenway Park for Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays, they saw the welcoming committee of their dreams. Pedro Martinez, Nomar Garciaparra, Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon, Trot Nixon and the rest of the Red Sox greeted the fans and handed out schedules. There were players stationed at every gate. [More photos at link]

Pedro Martinez greets Red Sox fans coming through the Fenway Park gates.

Pedro signs an autograph for a fan attending Wednesday’s game.

Patient Martinez waves caution flag
Jeff Horrigan, Boston Herald

Subdued and apparently humbled by his disastrous outing on Opening Day, Pedro Martinez cautioned fans not to panic about his sluggish return. “You can’t expect me to be the same way all the time or the same way I used to be,” Martinez said before last night’s rainout at Fenway Park. “I had a bump in the road and have to just overcome that. You know what? It’s been a long time since I pitched. People should be more patient. It’s not that easy. … I wanted to be the best I could for the fans, but I just couldn’t. I tried and did all I could do.”

Pedro a little short on swagger
Steven Krasner, Providence Journal

His nose was stuffy, his sinuses were aching and his head was throbbing from a cold he picked up a few days ago when he arrived in Boston from Florida. But that wasn’t the reason Pedro Martinez was fielding questions about his health yesterday. …

Pedro’s mental health is just as important, if not more so, than the shape of his shoulder, which was strengthened by rigorous offseason workouts that included weight training, ultimately building up his upper body. … he said he was healthy. But there was none of his customary animation. There was no sparkle in his eye, nor was there a smile on his face, two qualities that Martinez features when all is right with his world. Subdued. Somber. Those words better describe Martinez’s demeanor yesterday. …

Pedro Martinez Did Not Have Control of His Pitches
Franklin Mirabal, La Hoy, Santo Domingo (April 2)
[Translation by Anni at Your Turn.]

It was almost safe to say that Pedro Martinez was not going to have a good outing. What is more, I want to reveal that I did not travel to the Opening Day (I had done this in the last four years) because I doubted that he would throw a great game. And still more, photographer Ramon Carmona wanted to go to Boston, but 15 days ago I told him not to do that.

What I wrote one week ago? The following: I know Pedro Martinez well and I can interpret what he is thinking perfectly, based on what he has told the U.S. press. Martinez told the Boston Globe that perhaps he will need three outings in the regular season to be able to have control of his repertoire.

What is Pedro’s greatness? Control, location of his strike, and diversity of his pitches. Today, Tuesday March 26, Martinez cannot count on any of those three elements. And that is worst than physical discomfort for a pitcher of his class.

I believe that the only positive that we can see now is that he apparently does not feel discomfort in his shoulder. But to have gone so much time without pitching is his larger problem. That is the reason that the fans should not anticipate the Pedro that they know until probably the end of April. I hope the mistake is mine.


Pedro Martinez appeared yesterday to be like a ‘boy’ who pitched for the first time and in three innings wrote down seven runs and was hurt enough. He was afraid to use throw strikes in the first inning, the change-up did not have ‘venom’ and he was at the end before he used the fastball, one of them at 94 mph, against Vernon Wells in the third inning.

It is certain that he tied up many batters, but his pitches did not have ‘venom’. Everything is lost? Clearly no. But he will have to have two or three outings so that he feels comfortable.

April 3, 2002

Catchup day
Bob Hohler, Boston Globe

While most of the Sox took the day off, Martinez played catch, as he normally does the day after pitching, and was said by a team spokesman to feel fine. Martinez matched a career-high by surrendering seven earned runs against the Blue Jays in a 12-11 loss on Opening Day. It marked the first time he had given up that many runs since he faced the Marlins at Fenway July 18, 1999. After the ’99 drubbing, Martinez went on the 15-day disabled list with a sore right shoulder.

For Pedro, Sure Thing No Longer
David Heuschkel, Hartford Courant

April was supposed to be his month. He was the closest thing to automatic on Opening Day. In his first four seasons with the Red Sox, Martinez made 21 starts the first month of the season. His record: 13-1. His ERA: 1.92. His stuff: second to none. …

Most people knew Martinez wasn’t 100 percent. At the same time, few expected him to be at his worst. No one, including Pedro, knows what to expect Saturday, when he makes his next start. “I can’t really set high expectations for myself. I can only try to be healthy and do the best that I can. I don’t know how I’m going to react the next three months. I don’t even know what’s out there for me the remainder of the season. I can only hope to be healthy and make some adjustments.”

Will watching Pedro become painful?
Phil O’Neill, Worcester Telegram & Gazette

No beating around the bush. The No. 1 concern of Red Sox Nation coming off that 12-11 excuse for a major-league game on Monday is the status of franchise pitcher Pedro Martinez. Is he cooked? Has the best pitcher in baseball lost it? Is that frayed rotator cuff worse? Should he have had offseason surgery? Is he reduced to just another lame-armed pitcher like his brother Ramon? …

Everyone has a theory, but the truth is that we probably really won’t know until Martinez makes his next start on Sunday in Baltimore. And maybe not even then. Most of the signs aren’t good. … Asked afterward if he had pain, Pedro said, “Don’t ask about pain.”

Save Our Sox: Pedro’s debut a distress call
John Tomase, Eagle-Tribune

Three pitches into the game, he looked like the Pedro Martinez of old, ahead of Shannon Stewart, 1-2. Would Pedro finish him with a changeup? Blow him away with a fastball? Freeze him with a curve? Pedro Martinez walks off the mound in the fourth inning pondering probably his worst outing – not to mention his future – as the Red Sox ace. The fans had been here so many times before, they knew what to do. They rose in unison.

Jays GM thinks Pedro will adjust
Michael Silverman, Boston Globe

Toronto Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi will take his 1-0 record into tonight’s game against the Red Sox knowing, perhaps only hoping, it won’t be as tough as Monday’s back-and-forth, 12-11 Blue Jays victory. … Despite his obvious happiness in the less-than-obvious outcome, Ricciardi saw reason for concern and hope in the plight of Red Sox starter Pedro Martinez, who was hit hard – nine hits, eight runs, seven earned – by the Blue Jays.

“It looked to me like he was trying to find something comfortable with his arm slot. I just hope he’s OK, for his sake and the game’s sake. We need people like him around. … I think he will adjust. He’s such a great pitcher and he’s been able to make adjustments his whole career.”

Pedro’s ongoing difficulties a cause for concern
Bill Reynolds, Providence Journal

I’m worried about Pedro. And it’s more than the fact that he gave up nine hits and eight runs in less than four innings Monday, a performance from Baseball Hell. Or that he has struggled all spring. Or that he doesn’t seem to have the same velocity he had, back when Pedro threw fastballs that were like express packages to Cooperstown. …

Martinez used to have a certain swagger, the sense that it was his ball, his game, his show, and there was nothing anyone could do about it. It was the sense all the great ones have, regardless of the sport, the montage of talent and charisma, the tangible feeling that they own the moment. All that was gone Monday. As if Pedro’s somehow smaller on the mound than he used to be, diminished in stature.

End of the Pedro era
Bill Simmons, Page 2

You really needed to live in New England from 1998 to 2001 to appreciate the Pedro Experience, to understand what he meant to Sox fans, to fully comprehend the thrill of watching him pitch every five days. Looking back, he was like a shooting star. That’s the only way I can describe it. The man was a shooting star.

And maybe it’s over. After yesterday’s Opening Day shellacking against the Blue Jays, Pedro seemed human for the first time in years. Another trip to the disabled list seems inevitable. Once untradeable, once beyond reproach, you would be hard-pressed to count Pedro among the best 10 pitchers in the league right now. The Red Sox simply can’t keep him healthy. He isn’t reliable anymore.

Is this a baseball eulogy? Who knows. Even if Pedro never throws another fastball, I can’t imagine there’s a Red Sox fan on the planet who would feel gypped. He gave us 3½ seasons that simply defied imagination.

A Doctor’s Educated Guess re: Pedro
Sons of Sam Horn

The Babe’s biggest pitch? — The myth of the Bambino leads leads to a pond, a diving quest, and a piano that may be underwater
Irene Sege, Boston Globe

On the lazy afternoon of July 4, 2001, when the Red Sox were half a game behind the Yankees, Kevin Kennedy organized a pickup baseball game at Haskell Field. Pitching easy balls to his 8-year-old son’s ”sweet spot” just like his father used to pitch to him, Kennedy thought Babe Ruth would have loved a day like this. Then he remembered a tale, perhaps a tall tale, he had heard as a Boy Scout, that the Babe once pushed a piano into a Sudbury pond. Thus began the search for Babe Ruth’s piano.

Giving new meaning to ‘fast ball’
Reid Kanaley, Philadelphia Inquirer

In a miracle of technology and draconian editing, major-league baseball is compressing every three-hour baseball game this season into 20 minutes of Internet video for viewing on the Web site. A subscription costs $4.95 per month. …

Condensed Games – each stripped to the 85 or so pitches that result in a hit, a run or an out – will appear online 90 minutes after the last out of every game, starting tomorrow. Each inning lasts just over two minutes. A truly fanatical fan could watch all 15 or so daily baseball games in less time than it takes to play a double-header.

What’s missing? Those first two pesky strikes of any at-bat. Ball one, ball two and ball three. Foul balls. Pitcher-batter duels. Manager-umpire face-offs. Dugout tirades and stadium shenanigans, to name a few. The editing is automated, using software that compiles the video by reading codes supplied by observers at each game. The audio comes from a broadcast of the game.

Purists, as might be expected, don’t get it. “It’s just not the way I like to experience baseball,” said Claudia Perry, president of the Society for American Baseball Research. “I like the idea of being able to sort of luxuriate in [game details] from beginning to end. You want that experience of time unfolding, and seeing what happens.”

Opening Day Diary
Rob Neyer,

1:29 ET: Baseball really wasn’t meant be enjoyed three games at a time. But when you’re watching TV and you’ve got a remote control at hand, it’s close to impossible to sit through commercials when you know there are two other games just a click or two away. …

1:48 ET: What’s scary is that three-spot the Blue Jays hung on Pedro in the first inning. With most pitchers, you’d just figure he made a few bad pitches, no big deal. But Pedro makes so few bad pitches that when he strings them together, you can’t help but wonder if something’s wrong. It’s too early to panic, of course, but I do believe that the Red Sox don’t have a chance for the postseason unless Pedro’s back to his 1999-2000 form.

2:53 ET: Shea Hillenbrand walked! A year ago, he didn’t draw his first walk until his 14th game. Of course, the real barometer will be walk No. 2; last year, Hillenbrand didn’t draw his second free pass until his 46th game.

3:10 ET: Is Tim Spooneybarger the best name in the game today?

4:22 ET Open letter to whoever runs Fox Sports Net: Please — pretty please with sugar on top — please stop running those obnoxious sound effects every time you display pitch speed or change the count (twice every pitch).

5:03 ET: Yes, it’s early in the season, but I’ve already given up on the Royals.

Commissioner: Forbes’ report of profit is ‘fiction’
Associated Press

Commissioner Bud Selig criticized a Forbes magazine report that major league teams had an operating profit of $75 million last season — a marked difference from the $232 million in operating losses that he detailed to Congress in December. The magazine reported in its April 15 issue that 20 of the 30 teams were profitable last season — more than double what Selig said. “There is no way. Those numbers are fiction, they are pure fiction,” Selig said of the magazine’s statistics.

Forbes disputes Selig’s claim that baseball lost money
Associated Press

The 30 major league baseball teams had an operating profit of $75 million last season according to a study by Forbes Magazine, about $300 million more than commissioner Bud Selig testified to Congress in December. Forbes reported in its April 15 issue that 20 of the 30 teams were profitable last season — more than double what Selig said.

Double Play
Kurt Badenhausen, Cecily Fluke, Lesley Kump and Michael K. Ozanian, Forbes

Is $700 million a lot to pay for a money-losing team that hasn’t won the World Series since 1918? Not when a grossly undervalued cable network is included. If you want to understand what drives the economics of baseball these days, just look at the recent sale of the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox haven’t won the World Series since 1918, a year before they sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. Boston’s home, Fenway Park, was built in 1912 and is the smallest in the majors. And last season the team had an operating loss of $11.4 million. Yet in February a group led by John Henry, then-owner of baseball’s Florida Marlins, paid $700 million for the team, more than twice the previous record sale price (the $323 million Larry Dolan paid for the Cleveland Indians in 2000) and $550 million more than Henry paid for the Marlins just three years ago. What gives?

April 2, 2002

Links to Pedro’s Opening Day start on Monday against Toronto can be found here.

Surgery may be the only answer for Pedro
Chris Colston, Baseball Weekly

The Red Sox have him on a pitch count and will give him an extra day of rest whenever possible. “Our No. 1 concern is the health and welfare of that kid on the mound,” Little said. But is that approach just delaying the inevitable? Without surgery, the injury is only going to get worse. If rest were the answer, Martinez would be 100% by now. And if there is a complete tear, the chance of recovery is much less likely. … In retrospect, Martinez probably should have had offseason surgery. He’s only 30, young enough to rehabilitate and still have good years left.

Counts for Pedro Martinez Strikeouts
Cliff Otto, Bosox-L Mailing List

There seem to be some trends evident when one examines the count on which Pedro Martinez struck out batters over the seasons that he has been with the Red Sox; however, they may mean absolutely nothing. There is a major gap; my data does not have the counts for the 1999 season, but I can account for 85% of his strikeouts in 1998 and 100% of them for 2000 and 2001.

Percent of Strikeouts by Specific Count for Pedro Martinez

Count   1998   1999   2000   2001
0-2    20.93%   —   21.13% 26.38%
1-2    37.67%   —   32.75% 30.67%
2-2    31.63%   —   31.69% 26.38%
3-2     9.77%   —   14.44% 16.56%

April 1, 2002

Returnee Martinez ready, but also waiting
Gordon Edes, Boston Globe

There is a hint of resignation in Pedro Martinez’s words as he prepares to test the mortal limits of his fraying right shoulder this afternoon against the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2002 Red Sox season opener. ”I’m experienced enough to know that if I’m not patient, I’m just throwing my career out of the window,” said Martinez, warning fans that when he makes his fifth straight Opening Day start for the Sox, they should not expect the same pitcher who has gone 31-5 through April and May (with a 1.80 ERA) over the previous four seasons.

Martinez shoulders team’s hopes
Michael Silverman, Boston Red Sox

When one dares to imagine the Red Sox playing in this year’s postseason, there is only one member of the team who must be front and center in that fantasy scene: Pedro Martinez. He must stay healthy, for no winning team can survive without an ace, especially an ace of Martinez’ caliber. …

“No panic. Oh, I have to be concerned and (the fans) should be concerned about the same thing happening again. I will be concerned all the time. How I will behave, how I will do things, I will try to limit my throwing as much as I can. Because I know what it feels like and I don’t want to go back to doing that rehab again. It’s exhausting but so far, knocking on wood, everything has been perfect. And I feel like I’m healed.”

With Pedro, healthy perspective in order
Tony Massarotti, Boston Herald

The pitcher, Pedro Martinez, takes the mound on Opening Day for the fifth time in his Red Sox career this afternoon, but for the first time nobody knows what to expect. After missing most of 2001 with a worrisome shoulder injury, Martinez went 2-1 with a 6.62 ERA in five spring training starts. Though he described himself as merely “cautious” as recently as five days ago, he appears to be unsure of himself. …

Martinez is 30. He is sly and multidimensional, capable of winning with both power and finesse. But everything we know about him begins with the assumption that he will stay healthy, and even Martinez has acknowledged that there is no way to predict how his shoulder will respond to the rigors of the never-ending baseball season.

“You take nothing for granted, but to judge Pedro on spring training – I’m going to tell you to throw it out the window,” Jason Varitek said. “He’s reached the ultimate for a pitcher – winning the Cy Young. You can take the other crap – spring training – and throw it out. As long as he’s healthy and he’s strong, then I’m not worried about him. But if he’s restricted and hurting – and only he knows that – then I’m worried about him.”

The 2002 Red Sox season begins at 1:05 p.m. today. As usual, it all starts with Pedro.

All Opening Day eyes on Pedro
Steven Krasner, Providence Journal

The Boston Red Sox wrapped up their workout at exactly 4:02 yesterday afternoon at Fenway Park. “Spring training is officially over,” said Lou Merloni as he trotted off the field with his teammates. And now it’s time for the 2002 season to begin for real.

Today, the Red Sox play host to the Toronto Blue Jays, with Pedro Martinez’s first pitch of the season expected to be delivered about 1:15 as hopes abound for a playoff season under new owners and with a cast that features a few new faces. …

Asked if he thought Opening Day was exciting, Martinez shook his head slightly. “Actually, I think it’s boring. It’s too long,” said Martinez. Martinez was talking about the pregame festivities, which will include the introduction of all the players, a ceremonial first pitch expected to be thrown out by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, surrounded by teammates, and a fly-over by four F-16 Air Force jets.

Fate of ‘new’ Red Sox still rests on Pedro
Ron DePasquale, Associated Press

The Red Sox open the season with a new manager, general manager, ownership group — and even some new seats at old Fenway Park. What they really want to see is the old Pedro Martinez. … “So far, right now, I feel fine. I might have to make adjustments and I might not be as sharp as I want to be, or it could be the exact opposite. I’m as curious as you guys are.”

Martinez will throw about 75-to-85 pitches, manager Grady Little said, adding, “We want to have him ready in October.” Martinez downplayed the importance of his comeback. “I’m not the whole team,” he said. “The team went through half the season without me and we survived. We didn’t do as well, but what do you expect? Nomar wasn’t there, I wasn’t there, Varitek wasn’t there.”

For openers, Nomar back in place
Tony Massarotti, Boston Herald

Before last season, he was a two-time defending batting champion, the first right-handed hitter to win back-to-back titles in the American League since the great Joe DiMaggio. Now, one year removed from invasive surgery on his right wrist, Nomar Garciaparra will try to pick up where he left off. He believes he will be the same player. “Yeah, I do. I expect that. I feel that way. I feel good.”

Art Martone (Providence Journal) looks at the 2002 Red Sox Roster
Part 1 — Part 2 — Part 3 — Part 4 — Part 5 — Part 6 — Part 7

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