Martinez 'pretty excited' to be in Boston
BALTIMORE -- Victor Martinez was unpacking items from a Cleveland Indians duffel bag as a clubhouse attendant in the Boston Red Sox clubhouse wrote the No. 41 on a warmup uniform and dropped it in front of the locker.
Just before Friday's non-waiver trade deadline, Martinez was traded from the last-place Indians to the contending Red Sox for pitchers Justin Masterson, Bryan Price and Nick Hagadone. A day later, the slugger looked around and smiled about the prospect of beginning a new chapter in his career.
"I'm pretty excited. Until today, I never thought that I would play for a team like this," Martinez said. "This is a new team, a new organization. I'm not going to try to do too much; I'm just going to play my game and see what happens."
Boston manager Terry Francona gave Martinez a chance to have an immediate impact, inserting him at first base and batting him third Saturday night against Baltimore.
Any sadness Martinez felt about leaving Cleveland seemingly vanished when he noticed how many fine players surrounded him in the Red Sox clubhouse.
"God does things for a reason. He dragged me here and I'm really proud, I'm really honored to wear the Boston [uniform]," Martinez said. "This is a pretty tough team to beat, and a good thing for me I'm on this side now. It makes it a lot easier."
As he spoke, Martinez had to cope with the music blaring from atop his locker. The speakers were placed there by David Ortiz, whose cubicle was next to Martinez's. Showing consideration for his new teammate, Big Papi turned down the music when he realized an interview was being conducted.
"I've always played against him and David has always been great to me, even on opposite teams," Martinez said. "Now we're on the same team and I'm very excited about that. I know it's going to be fun."
"I'm happy to be here as a part of this storied franchise, excited to put on this uniform and be with this group of guys and have a good chance to win," he said. "The objective is the same each and every day. Whether you play or not, or play well or not, you try to do the best you can."
Kotchman was not in the starting lineup against the Orioles, but Francona expects to use him quite often down the stretch.
"Hard-nosed, tough out, very good defensive first baseman," the manager said. "One thing I remember is when he left the Angels how much his teammates seemed to miss him. That's probably the biggest compliment you can give any player. I said to him, 'We used to hate you on the Angels. That's probably the same reason we'll love you now.'"
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press