ST. PETERSBURG — Pedro Martinez has joined the Rays.
No, not the Hall of Fame pitcher who had some intense games for the Red Sox against them in the late ′90s and early 2000s.
This Pedro Martinez is a 19-year-old infielder acquired from the Cubs as the more promising of two players to be named in the Aug. 30 trade of Jose Martinez.
The switch-hitter from Venezuela has shown promise from both sides of the plate with good bat-to-ball skill, though not much power yet. He is a plus defender with, appropriately, a strong arm. Mlbpipeline.com ranked him the Cubs' 14th best prospect; Baseball America had him No. 21.
In 2018 playing in the Dominican Summer League and in 2019 at the rookie and short-season levels, he hit .310 with 11 doubles, 11 triples, four homers, 49 RBIs and an .815 OPS.
He likely would have started this season at Class A South Bend, the equivalent to Bowling Green in the Rays system.
“We’re excited,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "I’ve heard enough to know we like him, (he is) really young, his first two seasons he did some good things at the plate. Sounds like a pretty versatile guy that can play second, short, third.''
Pedro Martinez joins the Rays' 60-player pool and will start working out in Port Charlotte once he clears COVID-19 protocols. Infielder Ford Proctor and pitcher Seth Johnson also were added to the pool.
Jose Martinez isn’t doing too well with the Cubs. After an 0-for-14 start, dropping his average to .198, he was optioned Tuesday to their alternate training site. The other player coming to the Rays likely won’t be named until after the season.
Cody Reed out; Oliver Drake close to return
Lefty reliever Cody Reed became the 12th Rays pitcher sidelined by injury since Spring 2.0 started, placed on injured list (retroactive to Monday) due to ongoing irritation in his pinky finger. Cash said Reed has kept his arm in shape and they expect a short stay, but there is still some mystery about “the sensation that he had, or lack of sensation, whether it’s nerve irritation or just overall numbness. We’re not exactly sure where it’s coming from.” … Reliever Oliver Drake could be activated as soon as Saturday, looking good throwing live batting practice — in full uniform — Thursday afternoon, using his fastball and splitter with no issues from the biceps tendinitis that has sidelined him since Aug. 9. “I think he was encouraged by it,” Cash said. “He definitely looked pretty normal.” … Catcher Mike Zunino (oblique) took light swings, played catch and ran in what Cash called “a big step in the right direction.” Infielder Yandy Diaz remains limited to weight-room work by what Cash said was a “significant" strain of his right hamstring that remains sensitive to the touch. But Cash said it’s “definitely not” out of the question for both players to return before the Sept. 27 end of the regular season.
Roberto Clemente honored
Since they were off Wednesday when other teams celebrated Roberto Clemente Day, the Rays marked the occasion Thursday. Pitcher Charlie Morton, their nominee for the leaguewide Clemente Award, was acknowledged after the first inning; all players wore commemorative sleeve patches; catcher Michael Perez and third-base coach Rodney Linares sported the late Clemente’s No. 21. Perez, a native of Puerto Rico like Clemente, said he was proud and honored to wear the number and “definitely” would like to see it retired throughout the league.
Another Kiermaier coming
Centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier was excited to share news that he and his wife, Marissa, have known since July: They’re expecting their second child next spring. “One day I came home and she said, ‘Babe, why don’t you look at (their now 22-month-old son) Karter’s new shirt,’ and it said, ‘I’m going to be a big brother' or something along those lines,” he said. “I froze and I looked at her, and she smiled and was just shaking her head, and that’s how I figured it out. It caught me by surprise once again, but I was ecstatic once I put two and two together.” Kiermaier said they will learn the gender soon so they can start planning and discussing names.
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