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Martinez returns to Red Sox as assistant to GM

Martinez returns to Red Sox as assistant to GM

BOSTON (AP) Former Boston manager Terry Francona gave Pedro Martinez a big hug along with some advice to help him in his new job as a special assistant to the Red Sox general manager.

``Now he's going to have to be on time,'' Francona needled his former pitcher on Thursday when the two were reunited at the annual dinner of the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

A three-time Cy Young Award winner and eight-time All-Star who spent seven seasons in Boston, Martinez returned to the city where he had his best years. His role is still undefined - he has the same title as former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek - but Martinez said he would be willing to help with the pitchers, work in the minor leagues and generally be a friend to GM Ben Cherington.

``Varitek, Pedro - they are the Red Sox,'' said Francona, the current Cleveland Indians manager who received the prestigious Judge Emil Fuchs Award, named after the former Boston Braves owner, for long and meritorious service to baseball.

Other award winners included:

-Miguel Cabrera, the Ted Williams Award as baseball's best hitter.

-Buck Showalter of the Baltimore Orioles, major league manager of the year.

-Mike Rizzo of the Washington Nationals, major league executive of the year.

-R.A. Dickey, the Tony Conigliaro Award for fighting through adversity.

-Dustin Pedroia, the Thomas A. Yawkey Award for Red Sox most valuable player.

-Clay Buchholz, the Red Sox pitcher of the year.

-Will Middlebrooks, Red Sox rookie of the year.

-Cody Ross, the Tommy McCarthy Good Guy Award.

-Mike Aviles, the Jackie Jensen Award for spirit and desire.

Martinez spent his first day back on the Boston masthead at a lunch with Cherington, new Red Sox manager John Farrell, CEO Larry Lucchino and Boston Mayor Tom Menino and some civic leaders. Martinez said Menino had been welcoming to him when he first arrived in Boston in 1998 and once again was forthcoming with advice about where to live and what to do in the city.

``Menino was a friend to me,'' Martinez said.

Martinez was acquired from the salary-dumping Montreal Expos after the 1997 season, a few months before he would be awarded his first Cy Young. He instantly became the ace of the Red Sox staff, the biggest character in a colorful clubhouse and a key part of the team that won the 2004 World Series to end the franchise's 86-year title drought.

Martinez said his experience with the team during that era can help players who are trying to recover from last season's last-place finish.

``There was something missing, in the clubhouse, the players, around Fenway. This offseason, they realized that they lost something,'' Martinez said, noting that the addition of Farrell as manager and players such as Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli. ``We have the right group of people. These guys coming in have great, great character.''

Martinez, who's now 41, went 117-37 with a 2.52 ERA in Boston. His .760 winning percentage is the best in franchise history, and he ranks third with 1,683 in strikeouts and sixth with 117 wins in a Red Sox uniform. He is also the franchise's all-time leader with 80 postseason strikeouts; in the 1999 All-Star game at Fenway Park, he struck out the first four batters he faced.

In an 18-year major league career with the Dodgers, Expos, Red Sox, Mets and Phillies, Martinez went 219-100 with a 2.93 ERA and 3,154 strikeouts. He has a career .687 winning percentage, and he led the majors in ERA five times, including 1997 when he had a 1.90 ERA with Montreal.

``I am thrilled to be returning to this organization and to the city I love,'' Martinez said. ``It is an honor to be back with the Red Sox and help in any way I can. I am grateful to our leaders; I believe in them, and I thank them for allowing me to return to the field and help us win again.

``My heart will always live in Boston.''

Also Thursday, the Red Sox signed left-hander Craig Breslow to a two-year contract with a club option for 2015. Breslow had been eligible for salary arbitration. Breslow went 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA in 63 appearances for the Diamondbacks and Red Sox. Twenty of the 23 appearances the Yale graduate made in Boston were scoreless.

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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: David Hess has 'good chance' of making Opening Day roster

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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: David Hess has 'good chance' of making Opening Day roster

With Opening Day for the Baltimore Orioles just six days away, here are the latest updates from Spring Training. 

Player Updates:

Despite not having a great spring, pitcher David Hess has a "good chance" of making Baltimore's Opening Day roster, manager Brandon Hyde told reporters Thursday. Hess is likely to slot in as one of the Orioles' five starting pitchers. In six Grapefruit League appearances (four starts), he has an 0-2 record and 7.50 ERA. 

The Orioles made another round of cuts Thursday, reassigning utility man Jake Reinheimer and RHP Josh Lucas to minor league camp. Reinheimer put up an impressive 407/.429/.593 in 20 games this spring, but was never really in consideration for an Opening Day roster spot. 

Pitcher Josh Rogers tweaked his back after catching his spike in the mound during the Orioles' 7-5 Grapefruit League loss to the Pirates Thursday and was removed as a precaution. With Opening Day less than a week away, Rogers probably won't make another Spring Training appearance. Meanwhile, Miguel Castro continued his strong spring, tossing a scoreless inning against Pittsburgh. In Grapefruit League play, Castro has an 11/2 K/BB ratio. 

Right fielder Joey Rickard had a stellar day at the place against the Pirates, doubling twice to raise his Grapefruit League batting average to .395. On the flip side, first baseman Chris Davis struck out three times against Pittsburgh, and is now batting just .148 this spring.

Injuries: 

C Austin Wynns: Oblique, day-to-day 

DH Mark Trumbo: Knee, day-to-day

RP Richard Bleier: Shoulder, should be ready for Opening Day

3B Renato Nunez: Biceps, day-to-day

Coming Up:

Friday 3/22: Orioles @ Blue Jays, 6:07 p.m., Dunedin Stadium

Saturday 3/23: Orioles vs. Twins, 6:05 p.m., Ed Smith Stadium 

Sunday 3/24: Orioles @ Phillies, 1:05 p.m., Spectrum Field

Source: Rotoworld

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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: Renato Nunez not a lock for the Opening Day roster

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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: Renato Nunez not a lock for the Opening Day roster

With Opening Day for the Baltimore Orioles just a week away, here are the latest updates from Spring Training. 

Player Updates:

Infielder Renato Nunez is still sidelined with a sore biceps, and it turns out he may not be the Opening Day roster lock most expected, as the coaching staff wants to see him get more at-bats this spring.

Shortstop Alcides Escobar was released by the Orioles on the day their deadline to keep him for the season. The former Royal struggled, hitting just .219 over 32 at-bats this spring.

Injuries: 

C Austin Wynns: Oblique, day-to-day 

DH Mark Trumbo: Knee, day-to-day

RP Richard Bleier: Shoulder, should be ready for Opening Day

3B Renato Nunez: Biceps, day-to-day

Coming Up:

Thursday 3/21: Orioles @ Pirates, 1:05 p.m., LECOM Park

Friday 3/22: Orioles @ Blue Jays, 6:07 p.m., Dunedin Stadium

Saturday 3/23: Orioles vs. Twins, 6:05 p.m., Ed Smith Stadium 

Source: Rotoworld

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