Pedro Martinez won his 20th game of the season on Sunday, a 13-2 victory over Baltimore. Pedro promptly called it a season saying, "This is it. I'm done. To ask for a little more would be greedy. I'm going to let (Josh) Hancock show what he has, to see if he can be of any help to us next year. I don't have anything else to prove." He has one scheduled start remaining but does not want to take it fearing injury.
The suddenly ever-fragile Martinez has not gotten beyond the sixth in any of his four starts this month. He had pitch 7 or more innings in each of his August starts but developed a hip injury and missed a turn against the Yankees at the beginning of September.
Manager Grady Little says that he is still mulling over Martinez's "request". For the second year in a row, the Red Sox and Martinez are at odds over his finishing out the season. Last year, with the Red Sox facing elimination early, they forced Martinez back into the rotation after almost two months on the DL for three more starts, including two against the Yankees in early September. His 2001 season ended on September 7 with a three-run, three-inning outing against the Yanks that the Sox lost 3-2. Boston was 11 behind the Yankees at the time. The Sox were desperately trying to make the playoffs in an effort to save a number of front-office jobs with a team sale pending. They failed on both accounts.
Martinez had claimed that he was diagnosed with a minor rotator cuff tear. Boston claimed the injury was a mere thinning of the rotator cuff. After cajoling him into pitching interim manager Joe Kerrigan claimed, "He pitched because he wanted to pitch, he's healthy enough to pitch and we're still in the race." Whatever. The team was risking injury to a valuable and costly commodity for games that no longer mattered in the standings and luckily for all involved did not continue to do further damage.
Pedro also fired another salvo at the Red Sox broadside Saturday. He announced that if the Red Sox do not soon offer him a multi-year extension on his contract that ends next season, he will play out that contract and the option year for 2004 and then test the free agent waters. After the acrimonious departures of Roger Clemens and Mo Vaughn as free agents in recent years, it had taken the Sox a couple of years to rehabilitate their image. Another high-profile departure, or rather the impending threat thereof, after three straight seasons of missing the playoffs, is the last thing the Red Sox need. But in Boston at least it's always entertaining.