PHOENIX -- Moments before Red Sox outfielder J.D. Martinez spent 10 minutes discussing his return to Chase Field with local media in the visiting dugout, he stopped in his tracks to go over more video with his manager Alex Cora.
When he was done reminiscing about his two months with the D-backs in the summer of 2017, he sat down with young Rafael Devers to discuss the finer points of hitting. Martinez also spent part of the early afternoon telling his teammates about the park’s dimensions, and how the balls could play off the outfield walls.
The slugger has fond memories of Arizona, and credits his time with the D-backs, and specifically Paul Goldschmidt, for making him the leader he is today.
“When I came here, I was relatively quiet,” Martinez said. “I came from a veteran clubhouse [in Detroit], and I was quiet and [kept] to myself. I didn’t really speak out. Coming here, I thought Goldy did a really good job of opening me up, and showing me that next step of being a leader. Taking responsibility in the clubhouse, sharing your thoughts and ideas because they might help someone. He really would push me to open up and I think it really helped me.”
Martinez, who was acquired by Arizona from Detroit before the Trade Deadline, hit .302/.366/.741 with 29 regular-season home runs after the trade. He hit another in the National League Wild Card Game. In all, he sported a 1.107 OPS in 62 games with Arizona.
“I really did want to come back. It was something that I told my agent that I was definitely up for, but obviously it’s a business and things don’t always work out,” Martinez said. “I found a place in Boston, a home in Boston, and I’m pretty happy here.”
Pedroia decision looming
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia appears on track to return for the home opener, but the club is waiting until Sunday to decide on his status.
On Thursday, Pedroia, who has been plagued with left knee issues during the last two seasons, had a pair of hits in a rehab assignment game with the club’s Class A Greenville team. He went 1-for-2 and played five innings at second base for Greenville on Friday and is expected to take the day off Saturday.
“It was a game. He felt good,” said Cora, who spoke with Pedroia on Friday. “He moved well, he said, and made a lot of plays, swung the bat well. He feels good.”
“I’ve known Alex a long time. It started when I was a Triple-A manager in the Indians system, and he was an extra player in the big leagues and a role player in the big leagues, and just sitting down and having baseball conversations with him at that time told me that he was pretty well-versed on what was going on during the game. He thought like a coach, he thought like a manager and that was one of his great gifts.” -- D-backs manager Torey Lovullo on Cora.