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Martinez returns to Red Sox camp to work with pitchers

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Associated Press
2/18/2013 5:56:25 PM
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Pedro Martinez might have been the most popular person in a Red Sox uniform during the team's morning workout Monday.

The former ace has rejoined the organization that was the beneficiary of most of his glory days as a special assistant to general manager Ben Cherington.

Martinez, who turned 41 in October, has not pitched since 2009, his final season with the Phillies. He last played for the Red Sox in 2004, when he helped them to their first World Series championship in 86 years.

"It's weird," he said of putting on the uniform again. "But it feels like the first day to me. I get so excited to just be part of this team and be part of the tradition that we have here."

Martinez won two of this three Cy Young Awards while with the Red Sox. In his seven seasons in Boston, he went 117-37, a .760 winning percentage, with a 2.52 ERA.

The time was right, he said, to come back. He will be working with the major and minor league pitchers this season and expects to be at Fenway often.

"To be honest, I can't sit still for so long," he said. "I have to work. I grew up working.

"Even though my family needs me and I need my family now, I still need some time to actually go away, have a schedule, have something to do and at the same time be where I like to be, which is in the baseball field."

Martinez said he probably doesn't want to become a pitching coach or manager.

"I don't see myself doing 162 games anymore," he said. "I did for my whole career. And I think if I take part on the field it's going to be this way."

Martinez spent part of the workout with right-handed reliever Daniel Bard, who is trying to rebound after a dreadful foray into starting pitching last season, and lefty Felix Doubront, the youngest member of Boston's projected rotation, who has been delayed this spring by a sore shoulder and conditioning issues. Martinez also spent time with right-hander Rubby De La Rosa, whose grandmother worked for Martinez's family in the Dominican Republic.

"He can relate to every pitcher on some level," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "It's as much about dealing with pitching in Boston, the standpoint of what adjustments he had to go through. He has the scope of a whole major league career.

"Sharing his experiences and much of the mindset a starting pitcher has to go not only in spring training but also how to manage a full season. The biggest thing is the way he was able to adapt throughout his career. Even when his physical power started to tail off at times, he made adjustments and learned to pitch."

Martinez watched the Red Sox's abysmal 2012 season and was disappointed by what he saw.

"It's an empty feeling that you get inside of you because there's nothing you can do from the front of TV," he said. "The few games that I stopped to watch at Fenway it was painful to see the chemistry wasn't there, the team wasn't doing what they were supposed to."

Martinez said he would like to stay with the team well into the future as several other former players have done, including Red Sox great Johnny Pesky, who died in September.

"I remember Johnny Pesky hitting fungos in my first year, and I saw him in his last days," Martinez said. "I'm extremely proud to have seen Johnny Pesky. So I'm hoping to become someone like that."

Pedro Martinez (Photo: Elsa/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Elsa/Getty Images)
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