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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Pedro ‘open’ to future Red Sox job

CAP CANA, Dominican Republic – Having retired after a 15-year career, former Red Sox captain Jason Varitek recently was appointed as a special assistant to general manager Ben Cherington, even attending the winter meetings this week in Nashville, Tenn.

Pedro Martinez may not be far behind. ...

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CAP CANA, Dominican Republic – Having retired after a 15-year career, former Red Sox captain Jason Varitek recently was appointed as a special assistant to general manager Ben Cherington, even attending the winter meetings this week in Nashville, Tenn.

Pedro Martinez may not be far behind.

“It’s probably just a matter of time,” Martinez said Friday from David Ortiz’ celebrity golf fundraiser in the Dominican Republic.

Martinez hasn’t pitched since the 2009 World Series for the Phillies despite receiving interest from several teams to return to the mound. In his post-playing career, he envisions himself in a hybrid role, interacting with players on the field during spring training but also assisting the baseball operations staff.

According to Martinez, he has an open invitation from the Red Sox.

“That’s pretty much the way our relationship is,” Martinez said. “I’m really good friends with Ben Cherington. Any time I say, ‘Hey, I want to go,’ I have an open door. I want to get close to Ben Cherington and (team president Larry) Lucchino, learn a little bit, see if I like the office or more on the field. I’m just going to get my feet wet and see what I can learn from that.”

Martinez admits to some restlessness at home with his family, but unlike Varitek, he isn’t ready to recommit to baseball. In two years, he will be eligible for induction to the Hall of Fame, and unlike Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and other players tainted by either affirmed or alleged use of performance enhancing drugs, Martinez surely will be elected in his first time on the ballot.

Although he’s hesitant to judge Bonds’ and Clemens’ candidacies, noting that both had Hall of Fame credentials before “everything exploded,” Martinez left no doubt where he stands on the fairness of the era in which he pitched.

“I would have loved to face Roger Clemens when he was Roger Clemens with nothing,” Martinez said. “I would have loved to face him all the time. I was clean. I know I was clean. That’s all I can say. Beat me or not, that was the best I had – and clean. I wish it were the same way for every one of them. Even though it was the steroid era, I never had a complaint. I think I did the best way possible for as long as I could.

“What would have happened if I had a level ground field? It’s only to be guessed. This is the same body you saw, except maybe a couple of more pounds. But doing it is really difficult.”

Martinez left the Red Sox via free agency, signing a four-year, $54 million contract with the Mets after the 2004 season. But it’s clear where his post-playing heart lies.

Among the most special moments of his career: Walking off the team bus while clutching the World Series trophy in 2004.

“It took me seven years but we did it, and when I brought it down from the bus, it was like, mission accomplished,” Martinez said. “The last time I was (in Boston), I was in a parade. Every time I come back, it seems like there’s a parade, there’s a continuation. It’s been a great relationship, and it will continue to be.”