Carlos Martinez made his Red Sox organizational debut for Triple-A Worcester on Sunday afternoon. It did not go well.
Getting the start against the Toledo Mud Hens at Fifth Third Field, Martinez allowed five earned runs on four hits, two walks, and no strikeouts while only recording the first two outs of the first inning.
The right-hander got those two outs rather quickly, but then gave up a two-out double to Daz Cameron, a seven-pitch walk to Josh Lester, an RBI single to Ryan Lavarnway, a six-pitch walk to Jacob Robson, an RBI single to Dustin Garneau, and a two-run double to old friend Jack Lopez.
Lopez would be the last batter Martinez faced on Sunday as he was replaced on the mound by Eduard Bazardo. He finished with a final pitch count of 33 — only 16 of which went for strikes — and was ultimately charged with the losing decision.
The Red Sox signed Martinez to a minor-league contract on Saturday. The 30-year-old hurler began the 2022 season in the Giants organization but asked for and was granted his release by San Francisco in late April, thus making him a free-agent to begin with.
Shortly after the news of his signing broke, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo reported that the Sox view Martinez “as a low-risk addition to their organizational pitching depth and believe they have identified some adjustments that could lead to quick improvements.”
Martinez, who turns 31 in September, originally signed with Boston as an infielder coming out of the Dominican Republic in 2009. But the Puerto Plata native’s contract was voided and he would up signing with the Cardinals the following spring.
A two-time All-Star who also pitched against the Red Sox in the 2013 World Series during his time in St. Louis, Martinez most-recently posted a 6.23 ERA and 4.76 FIP with 57 strikeouts to 36 walks over 16 starts (82 1/3 innings pitched) for the Cardinals in 2021. His season ended in July due to a torn thumb ligament that required surgery. The Cardinals subsequently declined his $17 million club option for 2022 over the winter.
After getting some work in with Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominican Winter League during the off-season, Martinez inked a minors pact with the Giants in March but did not see any in-game action with any of San Francisco’s affiliates before getting released last month.
With that, Sunday’s start for Worcester marked Martinez’s first outing of 2022. While the results may not have been there in Toledo, it’s likely the veteran of nine major-league seasons was more concerned with shaking off any rust and getting back into the swing of things.
Before going under the knife last summer, Martinez primarily worked with a six-pitch mix that consisted of a four-seam fastball, slider, cutter, sinker, changeup, and curveball.
Given his past experience as both a starter and reliever, Martinez could prove to be a versatile option for the Red Sox should chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. elect to call him up to the big-league club at some point this season.
For the time being, one would have to think Martinez will make another start for the WooSox during their upcoming series against the Rochester Red Wings that begins Tuesday at Polar Park.
(Picture of Carlos Martinez: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)