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Pedro Martinez on Manny Ramirez, steroids, and odds of returning to baseball

Posted by Staff  January 14, 2012 01:32 AM

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Last night Pedro Martinez, who was back in town to help raise money for the Jimmy Fund and the Pedro Martinez and Brothers Foundation, spoke to reporters at the Liberty Hotel in downtown Boston. Click here for the story that ran in the Red Sox notes, but Martinez also went on to talk about the prospect of him pitching next season, Manny Ramirez, and steroids.

Hereís the Q&A.

How long would it take you to get ready to pitch this season?
"Probably not too long, because once you get your body in shape the throwing program is only like a month and a half and spring training isnít ever here yet.

"I wish everybody would stop thinking about that because I donít think Iím going to [come back]. Some [teams] expressed their wishes, saying that I could probably go back, but I just said no. I was really specific at the time. I said, ĎIím not going to go.' After I lost my dad I realized that family comes first. I realized that I had achieved enough to actually have a successful career and also to be happy with it.

"After losing my dad, I didnít feel like anything else mattered and thatís when everything just got to me. I wanted to make sure I gave my family the time they needed before I blew it. Iím actually doing that. Iím doing really good at spending time with the family."

Why do you think Manny Ramirez is trying to come back?
"Because he wasnít ready to leave. He wasnít ready to make sure that whatever he had in mind was as important as baseball. I just donít think heís comfortable.

"Everybody is different. Manny, I think misses baseball. He missed the things he did to stay away from thinking too much and I think Manny is realizing that he should have stayed in baseball a little bit longer."

"Itís really sad to see Manny struggle that way [referring to his recent legal troubles]. I know that Manny is misunderstood a lot and not everybody gets to know him like I know him. Thank god weíre really close in Florida and Iím able to see him from time to time, but even I was surprised to see Manny struggle the way he did after he got away from baseball."

"Iím pretty sure he was disappointed that he got suspended for 100 games and he didnít feel like he wanted to go and spend 100 days waiting for his chance to play. Iím glad it was reduced to 50 games, so he can probably get back, show everybody that heís being real, and that heís going to be a role model from now on."

How do you feel about players accused of using steroids not making the Hall of Fame?
"Iíll be really sad to see guys that did so well not be able to go in with some of us. But at the same time itís a matter of responsibility. You make your choices and youíre going to have to carry over with the consequences."

"Iím glad I didnít do [steroids], even though I was criticized for missing one or two or three starts a year for sometimes being in pain and expressing it." (Pedro talked about how player recovery times were significantly less when they were using steroids)

"Iím glad I did it clean, and Iím really extremely sorry for those guys that have to make that decision to go the wrong way, because I know baseball is hard enough to play by itself, and now carrying over such a bad reputation is not anything you want to have after such a beautiful job and a beautiful career. Itís sad but itís your choice and youíre responsible for the steps you take."

Do you ever think about what might lay ahead three years from now? (referring to his first appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot in 2015)
ďTo me, it seems like time is flying and I try not to think about it, but everybody on the streets reminds me whatís coming. So I normally hear it, but Iím not worried about it. It will be definitely a great honor to be called to the Hall of Fame and be part of so many good payers and probably the cream of baseball."

Seth Lakso can be reached at slakso@globe.com

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