Thursday, October 11, 2007

A dip into the past

Dave Martinez made enough of an impression during his two months as a coach in spring training and the first three weeks of the season when he filled in for injured first base coach George Hendrick that Tampa Bay Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon hired him Thursday to be the next bench coach.

Martinez spent 13 years in the game as an above-average right fielder who hit .276.
His major league resume will be a plus with the current Rays players, as will Martinez’s approachable manner.

But don’t overlook Martinez’s roots with the organization.

He was the right fielder in the Rays very first game and delivered the very first hit in team history to start a three-year stint with the organization.

Maddon asked Martinez and Fred McGriff to work with the team last spring, hoping that having a couple of former Rays around would influence the current crop of Rays.

Don’t laugh. Martinez was never part of the problem during the early years.

In fact, he was one of the few players you could point to an actually say, ‘This guy is legit.”
Playing hard every night for a last-place team is no easy trick, but Martinez was one of the few who actually did just that.

That type of attitude can only help the 2008 Rays, who will be young and inexperienced and who will struggle to negotiate their way through a 162-game schedule.

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