Martinez leaves team to accelerate comeback
SAN FRANCISCO — Accelerating his comeback from his horrific April injury, right-hander Joe Martinez has left the team to report to the Giants’ extended Spring Training camp at their Scottsdale, Ariz., facility.
It’s not known when Martinez will be ready to pitch competitively, though common sense dictates that it could be sooner than later. He has remained in decent physical condition and has been throwing off a mound for the last couple of weeks.
“My release point’s getting more and more consistent. I’m ready to get out there,” Martinez said recently.
Martinez began the season as the Giants’ long reliever, a role he kept for all of three games. Then a Mike Cameron line drive struck Martinez in his forehead as he was attempting to finish a game against Milwaukee, causing a concussion and three hairline fractures in his skull.
For more than one reason, the Giants won’t rush Martinez. They want to make sure that he’s not only physically recovered, but also mentally able to face batted balls again. Being gunshy has ended the careers of several pitchers over the years, though Martinez seems resilient enough to avoid this unfortunate mindset.
Also, the Giants currently have no room for Martinez, at least as of now. Everybody in the bullpen is performing well, and the starters are routinely pitching deep into games, reducing the need for a long reliever. Martinez doubtlessly is bound for an injury rehabilitation assignment in the Minors; he could end up staying there beyond that, depending on the state of the Giants’ pitching at that time.
– Chris Haft