(Jupiter, FL) We are often reminded not to get too excited about what a player may do the first couple of weeks in Spring Training–for better or worse. But it’s hard to ignore the start Jose Martinez has gotten off to for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Through 14 games, Martinez is batting .424 (14-33) and either leads or is tied at the top of eight different offensive categories which include home runs (3), hits (14), and runs driven in (10). He’s also played 52 innings at first base and another 24 innings in the outfield.
“I would recommend he keeps doing what he’s doing,” answered General Manager John Mozeliak recently on how Martinez could make the 25-man roster. “The thing that’s been exciting about him is the offensive side of his game–he’s taken a lot of quality at-bats in this camp. The other thing that I think is a nice element is being able to play first, right, or left.”
“Everything’s been great,” said Martinez. “Hard work pays off and it’s showing right now. Everything’s falling, everything is going well. So, hopefully can keep it going like this and have a strong finish.
After 887 games in the minor leagues, the 28-year old Martinez made his big league debut last season with the Cardinals. He made the most out of that opportunity, batting .438 (7-16).
This off-season, Martinez studied video of Miguel Cabrera to apply to his game. The results have been positive.
“You work out just to get ready–just to get your body ready, not even your mind,” said Martinez. “Once you start to play, your mind takes over. I’ve been trying to get ready for this opportunity my whole career, so I think my mind is completely ready for this. So I’m just trying to go out there and try to do my best. Have good at-bats and be focused on the game. Other than that, everything is doing well. You can’t help when you’re doing good or doing bad, you don’t know when that’s going to happen. The good thing is I’m there, I’m healthy and I’m just trying to do the best that I can.”
“I actually don’t like to think of that at the moment,” he said. “Because for me, to be here around these guys…is what most players want. To be around Yadi Molina, Dexter Fowler, all those guys–Adam Wainwright. They’ve been in the game for a long time, and you’re here–you have like 15 days of big leagues, you need to be grateful that you’re here. There’s a ton of players that want this opportunity. They want to be around a clubhouse–a Major League clubhouse and they’re just at home waiting for a shot. For me…I’m getting that chance to at least put a uniform on.
“All I’m going to say is I’m going to give whatever I have to be on a roster. I’m not going to say on a big league roster or something. For me, the most important thing is trying to play baseball. Trying to feed my son. My family is counting on me and that’s what I’m telling myself everyday–you’re here for a reason, it is for your son. So don’t let anything distract you and you have to go out there.”
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) March 14, 2017
photo credit: STLBaseballWeekly.com, Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports