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Pedro Martinez aims to clear the air

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher talks about incident with New York Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer during 2003 American League Championship Series.

October 29, 2009|Wire Reports

Teammates and coaches see one side of Pedro Martinez.

But the fans see another.

"I did some background on what he's like in a clubhouse and how he's perceived in the public, and it is vastly different from how he's perceived in the clubhouse," Philadelphia Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "This guy is absolutely fantastic in the clubhouse."

New York Yankees left fielder Johnny Damon spent three years playing with Martinez in Boston, and he has tons of good memories.

"I loved him as a teammate," Damon said.

Martinez, though, knows that's not the vision many people have of him, and once and for all, the Phillies' World Series Game 2 starter wants to clear the air, particularly with the New York media, whom he said has partially created the inaccurate image.

"I remember quotes in the paper, 'Here comes the man that New York loves to hate,' " Martinez said Wednesday. "None of you have ever eaten steak or beans and rice with me to understand what the man is about. You might see the player, the competitor, but the man? You guys have abused my name."

Martinez's name took on an even more negative connotation during the 2003 American League Championship Series when Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer and Martinez, pitching for Boston at the time, wound up being the focal point in a bench-clearing melee.

After Martinez threw behind Karim Garcia's head in the fourth inning, the umpire ruled that the ball hit Garcia and issued a warning to both benches.

In the bottom of the inning, Roger Clemens threw a pitch high and inside to Manny Ramirez and the two exchanged words. Both benches cleared, and Zimmer went after Martinez and lunged for him. Martinez eluded him and then grabbed Zimmer's head with two hands and tossed him to the ground. Zimmer, who was 72 at the time, landed face-down.

"It's something ugly," Martinez said. "I hope it never happens again. But it was something that we have to kind of let go and forget about because it was a disgrace for baseball. It's something I'm not happy about. It's something I don't condone, and it's something that I don't want to see in baseball."

Big decision

It could be the most important decision Yankees Manager Joe Girardi will make in this World Series: Should he use all his starters on three days of rest or use a fourth starter?

"I'm up for it," said A.J. Burnett, who will start Game 2 tonight. "If it's brought to us and we need to do it, I'm all for it."

CC Sabathia, who started Game 1, would have to do it twice, in Game 4 and Game 7. Sabathia's history of durability, and the long rests he has had between most starts this month, make that idea appealing to Girardi. Sabathia won Game 4 of the ALCS on short rest.

Burnett has pitched on short rest four times in his career, three times for Toronto in 2008, and he has won all four of those starts with a 2.33 earned-run average.

Andy Pettitte, who will start Game 3, would appear the riskiest choice for three days of rest, because he had a tired shoulder late in the season. He is 3-1 with a 2.88 ERA in five postseason starts on three days of rest, including a 1-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves in 1996 and a Game 2 victory over the Florida Marlins in 2003.


The Allentown Morning Call and the Hartford Courant contributed to this report.



*--* Tonight, 4:45 REGULAR PLAYOFFS SERIES SEASON OPPONENT TV: Channel W-L ERA W-L ERA W-L ERA 11 PEDRO 5-1 3.63 0-0 0.00 0-0 0.00 MARTINEZ A.J. BURNETT 13-9 4.04 0-0 4.42 0-01 7.50 *--*

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