Indians recall pitcher Martinez from Triple-A
CHICAGO -- Joe Martinez glanced at a scoreboard in Norfolk, Va., on Friday night to see the Indians and White Sox had combined for 29 runs in the first game of a doubleheader in Chicago. After the game, he and the rest of the Indians' Triple-A Columbus team boarded a bus to Durham, N.C., where Martinez found out he'd only begun his travel plans.
The Indians purchased the right-hander's contract on Saturday morning to add some depth to their bullpen after manager Terry Francona used eight different relievers in the team's two wins on Friday. Right-hander Matt Langwell was activated before the second game on Friday but was optioned back to Triple-A following an inning of relief in which he surrendered two runs.
Francona said Langwell's demotion wasn't an indictment of his giving up runs, but rather a need for a long reliever after the bullpen's heavy workload in the doubleheader. Martinez has been starting games in the Minors, but feels comfortable pitching out of the bullpen. He held down a long-relief role with San Francisco in 2009 and '10.
"We talked to Matt a little bit [on Friday], and he did so well in spring and pounded the strike zone," Francona said. "Early in the season, we tried to find a way to get him in the mix of guys that can come up and go back. I tried to remind him of that. ... I said, 'You came to spring as a non-roster [invitee], don't be too disappointed now. You're probably going to be on that shuttle a few times.'"
For Martinez, this stint in the Majors is an opportunity. He only pitched in one inning of relief in the bigs last season for Arizona, allowing a run to the Phillies on April 25, 2012, before being sent back down.
"Last year was different circumstances with a different club," Martinez said. "The Diamondbacks had a lot of pitching, but also young guys coming up like Pat Corbin and Tyler Skaggs -- and those guys are really good pitchers and good guys, too. But I'm happy to be here, I'm going to try and help win some games, and that's all I'm focusing on."
Martinez struggled in May, posting a 9.26 ERA in six starts with Columbus. He started June with a six-inning effort on June 5 in which he gave up seven runs, but has compiled a 3.50 ERA in three starts since then.
"I've actually been pretty happy with the way I've been throwing it," Martinez said. "I'm working hard to get [myself] right. I've had a lot of success in the Minor Leagues over my career, so I know [the results are] there. I just have to have people hit it at somebody. That's usually my idea of success."
Martinez arrived in Chicago at 8:30 a.m. CT on Saturday morning, so he'll share his teammates' exhaustion after Friday night's record-breaking seven-hour-and-53-minute doubleheader. Still, Martinez hopes to get into Saturday's game so he can overcome the butterflies that come with returning to the Major Leagues. His wife and college roommate from Boston College -- who now attends Northwestern Medical School in Chicago -- will be in attendance.
"I've talked about it a million times, just keeping our bullpen in order and having Joe here with some length will really protect us," Francona said. "And he's been pitching really well, so you reward a guy. You tell him, 'Go do your job," and he did. We don't know how long he'll be here, but making one move can save everybody."
Martinez pitched two scoreless innings on Saturday in relief of Ubaldo Jimenez to pick up the win.
Ethan Asofsky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.