(AP Photo/John Minchillo)(John Minchillo)
Boston Herald FORT MYERS – As far as first impressions on the action front went, J.D. Martinez’ first Red Sox game was little on the slow side: two flyouts and two catches, one a nice, running thigh-high grab.
But as far a first look at Martinez’ feisty attitude, he made it clear that he will not get caught up in the hype surrounding the high expectations and pressure that will surround his arrival as the club’s savior in the power department.
“To me, I feel like you guys have the expectations, the fans and the media,” said Martinez, who played left field and batted fourth. “I’m just going to go out there and play my game and do what I’ve been doing the last four or five years. As far as the pressure and stuff goes, just try and go out there and try to play my game. Obviously ignore it. Playing in Boston, it’s a big market and there’s going to be a lot more but I think it will be a good test of handling it.”
So, it matters not to Martinez that he’s going to face scrums like today’s mid-game, mid-March one that gathered around his locker after that 0-for-2 outing.
“I don’t care,” said Martinez. “Like I said, I’ve done it for the last five years, I have nothing to prove right now in spring training. I just go out there and worry about me getting ready, that’s the way I’m looking at it.”
Martinez’ at-bats came against Minnesota’s Jake Odorizzi, a very good pitcher. He flew out to right field in his first at-bat, and then got jammed some in at-bat No. 2, and lined out on a soft fly to center field.
He said it usually takes him some 60 to 80 at-bats before feeling truly comfortable, but his first two were not bad.
“Good, I felt like I didn’t chase any balls outside of the zone, felt like I swung at some decent pitches,” said Martinez. “The ones I flew out on might have been a little bit up and in but they were close enough and I felt like I did a good enough job just not chasing.”
Well, J.D. Martinez is finally in Boston, and he does not seem to be holding back. Michael Silverman caught up with Martinez in the aforementioned Boston Herald article, and while Spring Training has just begun; Martinez seems to be in mid-season form with handling the media.
The Martinez situation this entire off-season was on the radar of the Red Sox and their fans. After the team failed to make a competitive offer for NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton, we saw the rival New York Yankees step up and acquire the player. Under heavy amounts of pressure from the fans and media alike, President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski finally pulled the trigger to bring Martinez into the fold in Boston.
Martinez, from most accounts, is a reserved personality. Under the major media spotlight that is Boston, this seems to be a direct conflict. With guidance from former teammate and current Red Sox SP David Price, Martinez already has an idea as to what he can expect in Boston. His encounter with Silverman proves that he is already becoming defensive.
“I feel like you guys have the expectations, the fans and the media” shows me that Martinez understands that he is expected to produce a lot in Boston, but he is quick to point out that those expectations are not his own. His only expectations are, as he described later on, as only being worried about “being out there and getting ready”.
Martinez finally arrived to camp after a health-related delay in his official signing, and has handled the situation in stride. Martinez is well-liked by his teammates, and as today’s article in the Herald proves– he’s ready for Boston.