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Happy for Ortiz, Pedro has job waiting too

BOSTON -- Pedro Martinez and David Ortiz were headed to dinner Saturday night, a day after Ortiz and the Red Sox zeroed in on a two-year deal.

Down the road, Martinez himself could rejoin the Red Sox as an instructor. He's talked to the club about it.

"We've had discussions," general manager Ben Cherington said Saturday. "He knows there is a role waiting for him when the time is right for him."

Martinez, who spent Saturday afternoon at the Greater Boston Sports Collectors Club convention, often speaks of how much he enjoys his post-playing life. He didn't get to retire with the Red Sox -- he said he might have retired if the Sox lost the 2004 World Series -- but he thinks Ortiz will now get that chance. Martinez and Ortiz are very close friends, and in terms of contract negotiations, Martinez believes the Sox got it right this time.

"I think it's great," Martinez said of Ortiz's impending deal. "I think it's really smart for the Red Sox to actually start the new year with something positive. I did congratulate David and we're supposed to meet later on, to actually maybe go to dinner."

To Martinez, Ortiz's still unannounced two-year, $26 million deal was proof the Red Sox are making the right moves.

"I think Boston learned from their own experience what the fans and the players feel about Boston, and I think that they did a great job at signing David and bringing him back and probably have him finish his career here in Boston," Martinez said Saturday night. "He earned it, and I think the Red Sox totally understand that David belongs here. ... David is a guy that's well liked by everybody: young, old, veterans, everybody. Management, and also the fans. I think the fans are really behind David, and they shouldn't have one more sour grape to give to the fans at this point."

Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz are the mainstays in the Red Sox rotation now, trying to lead the way Martinez once did. Martinez thinks that means the rotation is in good hands.

Still, there is no way to color Lester's 9-14 season as anything but disappointing. Just from afar, Martinez believes he noticed some things wrong with the lefty -- an indication of what kind of help he could be if he ever decides to work with the team.

"I saw a couple of things mechanically for Lester," Martinez said. "[With] Buchholz it's just a matter of staying healthy, I think he's maturing enough and he's getting to where he needs to get. They both can be the ace of the team any time."

Martinez talked to Lester as well, but without enough time to make a real impact.

"I did, but not long enough to correct anything," Martinez said. "I wish I had more time to actually tell him what I saw. Hopefully one of these days we'll catch up."

For now, getting Lester right is a duty that resides with manager John Farrell and whomever he selects as pitching coach. Martinez isn't very familiar with Farrell, but from what he understands, he believes the Sox got that decision right too.

"He was doing a great job for the Blue Jays," Martinez said. "I wish him well, he seems like a smart man. He was getting the best out of the Blue Jays before they all got hurt."

Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz