St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Carlos Martinez had an interesting Spring Training. The issues that arose could have caused some hiccups in his fledgling career if he had let them.
First, it was the Deadspin story about the extremely adult-oriented sites on Martinez’s Twitter favorites page. Normal stuff for a young man to be interested in, but a different person might have died of embarrassment when the whole baseball world is talking about it. Maybe the language barrier shielded Martinez from some of the consternation in Cardinal Nation and beyond. However, the hullaballoo didn’t distract him from his attempt to win a spot in the starting rotation.
Martinez had one of the best performances this spring of any pitcher in baseball. He must have felt he had surely won the fifth spot in the Cardinals’ rotation in his competition with Joe Kelly. Then, he finds out that it wasn’t a competition at all. The team seems to have intended all along for him to begin the year in the bullpen as the set-up man for closer Trevor Rosenthal. How would Martinez respond to the disappointment and possibly feeling mislead?
So, the 8th inning arrives in the Opening Day game against the Cincinnati Reds yesterday, with the Cardinals leading 1-0, and the call to the bullpen goes to… Pat Neshek? Oh, to have been inside Martinez’s brain at that moment (and able to understand Spanish). Martinez came into the game later in the inning with runners on the bases and butter-fingered teammates in the field and calmly closed the frame with a zero.
Martinez is a young pitcher whose career will be very interesting to follow, both on Twitter and the baseball field.