Martinez cherishes time with Giants
Sunday, March 4
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Five minutes of waiting in the Arizona Diamondbacks clubhouse stretched to 10, which soon became 20 or 25. “He’s in the weight room,” a D-backs media relations official informed me.
Despite having been unproductive for about a half-hour, I felt strangely pleased. This was the Joe Martinez I knew, always diligent.
If you’re reading this, you probably remember Joe Martinez. At 26, he entered Spring Training 2009 mostly unheralded but pitched his way onto the Giants’ season-opening roster. Not only that, but he also won the opener at AT&T Park with two innings of relief in his big league debut against Milwaukee.
It helped that Martinez was diligent, earnest and seemed like the kind of guy you’d let your daughter date. When he made the team, it brought to mind the saying that good things happen to good people.
Then, in the finale of that Milwaukee series, with the Giants leading 7-1, Mike Cameron hit a line drive that struck the right side of Martinez’s forehead. Martinez weathered a concussion and three hairline fractures, bringing to mind the saying that bad things occasionally happen to good people. Martinez recovered and rejoined the Giants in August. The following year, he and outfielder John Bowker were traded to Pittsburgh at the Trade Deadline for lefty Javier Lopez.
Martinez, who’s currently competing for a spot on Arizona’s pitching staff, appeared in five games for San Francisco during the hallowed 2010 season. So, yes, he got a World Series ring. He knew it was coming; a Giants official had contacted him to ask him his ring size.
Martinez was busy pitching for Cleveland’s Triple-A Columbus (Ohio) affiliate when The Ring came — and all that it represented along with it. Selected by San Francisco in the 12th round of the 2005 draft, Martinez treasures his five-plus years in the Giants organization.
“I loved it,” he said. “Obviously I look back on a lot of fond memories and good relationships with people there, not just players, but also staff, pitching coaches, even some front-office people.”
Of the 2010 club, Martinez said, “I felt like I was a part of that team, even for the small part that I played. They made me feel like part of the team, even though I wasn’t always in the big leagues with them. I’m happy they won. I wish I could have been there with them.”
Finally, Martinez insisted that he doesn’t dwell on the Cameron incident.
“It really doesn’t bother me when people mention it,” Martinez said. “I’m OK. I don’t have any lasting effects from it, as far as I know. The way it happened kind of sticks in people’s mind because it looked bad. It looked worse, thank God, than it was.”
— Chris Haft