MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- Two Red Sox legends from the recent past stood together on Friday night to help begin the team's annual Winter Weekend festivities, and made it clear they are passionate about trying to contribute to the team's success in 2018.David Ortiz won't be taking any more clutch swings.
MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- Two Red Sox legends from the recent past stood together on Friday night to help begin the team's annual Winter Weekend festivities, and made it clear they are passionate about trying to contribute to the team's success in 2018.
David Ortiz won't be taking any more clutch swings. Pedro Martinez won't be throwing any more devastating changeups.
But they can make contributions with their voices, their minds, their experience, their charisma and the respect they carry the minute they walk into a room or onto a practice field.
Ortiz elected to spend 2017 -- his first in retirement -- in the background. But he's ready to get back to work in the multifaceted role the Red Sox announced in September.
Martinez, who was hired as a special assistant by the Red Sox in 2013, has served as an example for Ortiz of how he can contribute to the organization he loves so much in his post-playing days.
"I mean, I'm always going to be open, just like this guy," Ortiz said of Martinez. "I pretty much try to approach the game like Pedro. There's a lot of kids out there on this team … I played with them and they have a good relationship, but this is teamwork. The experience we have is that we can somehow, someway share with all of them. But at the end of the day, it all depends on how much you want to get out of the experience and how good you want to get.
"I'm going to be around, just like my compadre, and sharing experience and trying to get this ballclub better."
Look for Ortiz to put his No. 34 back on at some point during Spring Training.
Will it be strange for him to put the uniform on in a non-playing capacity for the first time?
"I think that's going to be the cool side of it. I always used to love seeing [Martinez] coming in here with a fresh face, you know getting a little bit of a workout, sweat it out, and helping the guys," Ortiz said. "The guys always have questions, we're always going to have answers. It's all about sharing the experience, because that's what the game is all about."
While Martinez has been comfortable in his roving role in recent years, helping pitchers at different levels, he senses he could have more involvement at the Major League level in the coming year. In particular, Martinez will be there to help new pitching coach Dana LeVangie, who was a bullpen catcher when Martinez was a player for the Red Sox.
"I'm so flexible in so many ways and I have always pretty much shared my time with the Red Sox according to what they need," Martinez said. "It's going to be pretty much the same, except I'll probably get busier this year given the fact that we have a brand-new manager and we have a brand-new pitching coach.
"It's something I never thought I would be so involved with, but I'm going to have to because not only is Dana an inexperienced pitching coach, but he's also my friend and I don't want to let him struggle. If I have to sacrifice a little bit more of my time to actually make sure that he's OK and that everything is going right for him, and that the guys can really trust what he's doing, I'm going to do that. I've always been loyal to the Red Sox."
Even if they can't contribute to wins in the direct fashion they used to, Ortiz and Martinez are eager to do what they can to play a role at this stage.
"We'll see how that plays out," Ortiz said. "We have a coaching staff that is the one in charge of dealing with the players. We only can do so much, but we're here to win, you know what I'm saying? Everybody knows that this gentleman right here and me, we breathe through this organization and we will do whatever it takes for this organization to win ballgames. So we definitely at some point are going to know what our roles are going to be like, and we're going to go from there."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.