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Watching Martinez wistfully

November 04, 2009|Bill Shaikin

NEW YORK — He'll be on national television tonight, the worst nightmare of many a Dodgers fan: Pedro Martinez, pitching in the World Series for the Philadelphia Phillies.

"I'll be watching," Fred Claire said Tuesday. "I've always wanted to see him do well."

Claire freely admits his worst trade in 12 seasons as the Dodgers' general manager: Martinez to the Montreal Expos for Delino DeShields.

In 1993, the Dodgers considered Martinez a fragile middle reliever, in part on the recommendation of Dr. Frank Jobe. They needed a second baseman, and the cost-cutting Expos had one of the best in the game.

"I knew we were in trouble, because the L.A. media loved the trade," Claire said, laughing. "The reviews were too good."

DeShields played three largely forgettable seasons for the Dodgers, plagued by injury. He was out of baseball seven years ago, at 33.

The allegedly fragile Martinez starts tonight, at 37, with three Cy Young awards and eight All-Star game appearances on his Hall of Fame resume.

Martinez is scheduled to make his third World Series start tonight.

The Dodgers haven't appeared in the World Series since they traded Martinez, but Claire is happy to applaud him.

"Pedro has gone on to great things," Claire said. "I've always appreciated his talent -- and not only that, but his spirit and his heart.

"He isn't only a great pitcher. He's a great person."

Manuel on Hamels

If the World Series goes seven games, Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel says he'd have no qualms about pitching Cole Hamels.

But would Hamels have qualms? After his Game 3 loss, a frustrated Hamels told reporters he couldn't wait for the season to be over. When teammate Brett Myers spotted him in the clubhouse Monday, he reportedly said, "What are you doing here? I thought you quit." And the two had to be separated.

"What happened between" Hamels and Myers, Manuel said, "they're friends and that was more 'Brett being Brett.' He likes to throw a jab at you. People hear that sometimes, they don't know how to take it."

Rodriguez rolling

After going 0 for 8 with six strikeouts in Games 1 and 2, Alex Rodriguez had a home run, three doubles and six RBIs in the three games at Philadelphia.

"It's a great feeling any time he is swinging the bat well," Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said. "He seems very relaxed, he seems like he is in a great place. Any point he is up there, he can be a difference-maker."

Rodriguez, hitting .360, has 18 RBIs in this postseason, one short of the record shared by David Ortiz, Scott Spiezio and Sandy Alomar Jr.

Victorino update

Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino, who was hit by a pitch and has a badly bruised finger, had more tests in Philadelphia. Manuel said he is "day to day." He couldn't grip a ball or bat when he came out of Game 5. . . . Andy Pettitte, who beat the Angels to finish off the ALCS, has won five series-clinching games in his career, the most ever. He finished off the Padres in the 1998 World Series, a Yankees sweep. . . . Johnny Damon is six for nine with four runs scored in the last two games. Martinez on his former teammate: "I'm glad he is doing well, he is one guy I will always root for. He's a special player and a special human being."

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bill.shaikin@latimes.com

Hartford Courant writer Dom Amore contributed to this report.

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