Pedro Martinez on Felix Doubront: ‘You have to hold him accountable’
|02.18.13 at 2:47 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Pedro Martinez is a lot of things to a lot people in baseball.
One of the greatest right-handed pitchers of all time. One of the most fearsome competitors ever to take the mound. One of the most genuine personalities in the game.
But to Felix Doubront, Martinez would just like to be the teacher that sets the young lefty on the right track in baseball. Martinez, now a pitching consultant to the Red Sox organization, made that abundantly clear Monday at the Red Sox spring training complex.
Martinez is well aware that Doubront, for the second time in three years, has reported to camp out of shape and was held back due to shoulder fatigue at the start of camp. Martinez plans to get in the ear – and mind – of the 25-year-old Venezuelan lefty, reminding him of the opportunity in front of him as a potential long-term starter in the Red Sox rotation.
“He’s so young and so full of talent that sometimes we take for granted the opportunity we’re given but the same way it comes, the same way it could go,” Martinez said of the lefty, who went 5-2 in his first 10 starts last season before falling off drastically in the final four months. “All it takes is a bad injury and you’re out of baseball. The only thing that prevents injuries is hard work. I believe he just doesn’t know and hasn’t been taught that he’s going to be held accountable for his performance out there and the way he looks, and that this is really a serious business. I think it takes a little while to get him mentally prepared to understand the responsibility on top of his shoulder with the whole Boston community and the team.”
It was forearm strain that held him back in 2011. It was a knee injury in 2012. And this spring it’s shoulder fatigue.
“I think he’s so young,” Martinez said. “Nowadays, these pitchers come up so young and so talented that they don’t realize how much they’re going to be counted on. And I think Doubront is a good example. I think he needs to know that he’s really important to this team, this organization, to the community, to Boston, that they’re counting on him to be one of the big names. At the same time, he’s just a young kid trying to develop and he’s already in the big leagues trying to perform. And you have to take that into consideration and be patient with him and at the same time, try to guide him through it. I think I can be a good axis to him to learn about some of the things he has to do.”
What exactly is the message Martinez plans to impart to Doubront?
“Bsaseball is not easy,” Martinez answered. “It wasn’t easy for me. He has to expect it to be tough. One thing I’m going to be with him, just as I was with [media], I’m going to be straightforward. I’m going to say the way it is, point-blank the way it is. If he wants to hear it or if he doesn’t, it’s okay. I just know I want the best for him and I want the best for the organization and I would love to help him. I can’t handle the fact that I have all this knowledge and not give it away. I would love to give it away and I hope he sees me as a good example of hard work and dedication and will to do things.
“Being out of shape a little bit is normal, probably not as much as before, but being out of shape a little bit in spring training, this is the only place where you can be a little bit out of shape but you’re here to get in shape. He has plenty of time to get in shape. I think he’s going to do it right. I think if he does put emphasis on the things he’s going to do, he’s going to do it exactly the way he should. I wouldn’t panic that much on that but at the same time, you have to hold him accountable to go and do his work every day.”
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