Martinez rejects offers to return

By Ronald Blum
Associated Press / August 6, 2010

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NEW YORK — Pedro Martinez’s phone has been ringing during the last two weeks.

Several major league teams — the three-time Cy Young Award winner won’t say which ones — called with offers to pitch. He was flattered by the invitations but turned them all down.

“Very tempting,’’ Martinez said yesterday during an interview with the Associated Press, “but I have already committed to my kids for the rest of the year and going on vacations, and made plans already with the family.’’

Martinez signed in July 2009 with Philadelphia, his fifth team in a big league career that began in 1992. He went 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA in nine starts down the stretch and reached the World Series for the second time.

But the 38-year-old righthander has spent most of this summer in the Dominican Republic.

“It feels real good to be able to be at home and get to hug mom every time you want, see her every time you want,’’ he said. “To be able to go to the baseball field and see your kids playing is really something.’’

Still, it’s been trying in some ways. He called this summer a test for him, adjusting to “a different life.’’

“I do miss competing, being out there — the atmosphere, I do miss it,’’ he said. “Some other things I don’t miss: the media and the pressure of just being asked to do, and being asked questions every day. And actually just the load, six months just working, not being able to stop, not being able to really do anything or behave like a normal person.’’

Martinez compiled a 219-100 record and a 2.93 ERA in 18 seasons, won five ERA titles and three strikeout crowns.

“I haven’t really stopped to see what kind of numbers I have, but I think I have a chance, a legit chance,’’ he said of one day being elected to the Hall of Fame. “Some of the things I’ve done are really special.’’

He has a ready smile and a laugh, just like he did in his playing days — except when he was pitching. Martinez had a different personality when he took the mound,

“To me it was a great honor to have 60,000 people just chant my name, in favor or against. It doesn’t matter.

“I made a difference,’’ he said. “I’m not a baseball player when I’m not pitching — I’m a goofball. I’m a normal man. I’ll sit on any block.’’

But, oh, on the mound.

“That’s business,’’ he said. “I’m in a jungle, and I consider myself a lion. So I’m going to kill you if I’m hungry. And I was always hungry to win.’’

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