Martinez set to face former club

Martinez set to face former club

BOSTON -- Upon learning of the July 31 trade from the Cleveland Indians, the team that signed him as a 17-year-old out of Venezuela in 1996, Victor Martinez found it difficult to keep his emotions in check.

Now, almost two months later, Martinez will face the Indians for the first time since the Trade Deadline deal.

"I'm pretty excited to get the opportunity to see my [former] teammates again," Martinez said, sitting in front of his locker inside the Red Sox's clubhouse. "And why not? That was the organization that I spent my whole career in. And it's kind of weird, though, at the same time, because I used to come and be on that [visitors'] side of the stadium and be wearing that uniform for a long time."

Martinez's addition to the roster has provided an offensive spark while affording flexibility to the lineup, since he can catch, play first base or serve as the designated hitter.

Since the trade, Martinez has hit .332 with seven home runs and 36 RBIs in 52 games for the Sox. He has hit safely in 27 of his past 28 games, batting .350 (36-for-103) in that stretch. His career-high 25-game hitting streak was broken Sunday in New York when he reached base on an error in a pinch-hit appearance in the ninth inning. During Martinez's streak, which began Aug. 28, he hit .358 (34-for-95) with 17 RBIs.

Though less than two months removed from Cleveland, for Martinez, without a chance to say good-bye to long-time friends, it feels longer.

"Yeah, it seems like it, because I didn't really have a chance to think about it at the time," he said. "Since I got here things changed a lot for me. I came to a team that was in the middle of the race to make the playoffs, and the only thing that I have to worry about is to just come here. I realize there's just [five] more days left in the season and it went by kind of quickly, just because you have to focus every day. Every game means something. Every pitch means something. Every at-bat means something. It was a good change for me. Before, in Cleveland, I was just going to the ballpark and it was just another day, another game, and it wasn't [a situation] that I was really going to play for something. We were just trying to go through the season and go home."

Martinez, who turns 31 in December, feels like he grew up in the Indians organization.

"I always say I was born and raised in Cleveland," he said. "I signed there in 1996, when I was 17 years old, and I'm 30 years old right now. I really enjoyed all my time with the great Cleveland organization, and I got nothing but great things to say about their organization. They're great, especially for the Latin players -- they care about them. They make English classes for the guys. And they really care about all their players, and they take care pretty good care of all their players. I really appreciate that and all the things they did for me and my family."

Now he will get a chance to say hello -- and a proper good-bye.

"I'm just excited to see my teammates and the coaching staff," he said. "I know everybody for so long and it will be nice just to shake hands again and say, 'Hi.'"

Pitching matchup
BOS: LHP Jon Lester (14-8, 3.52 ERA)
After being knocked out of his previous start when he was struck on the right knee by a Melky Cabrera line drive, Lester will try to end his regular season by reaching the 15-win plateau for the second consecutive year. The lefty had his worst start in months against the Yankees, giving up eight hits and five runs over 2 1/3 innings. In 13 starts since the All-Star break, he is 6-2 with a 3.04 ERA. At Fenway for the season, he is 6-2 with a 3.07 ERA. In his lone start against the Indians this season, Lester gave up seven hits and five runs over six innings.

CLE: RHP Carlos Carrasco (0-3, 9.00 ERA)
Outside of a troublesome fourth inning, Carrasco pitched much better against the Tigers on Sept. 24. Carrasco had struggled since coming up in early September, but he seemed to take a step forward. Carrasco pitched five innings and gave up four runs, but all of those runs came in the fourth, when the Tigers strung together a walk and four singles. Carrasco kept the ball in the ballpark, which had been a problem, and said he felt much more comfortable than he has in his other starts.

Tidbits
With their 12-0 loss to the Blue Jays on Wednesday, the Sox lost their sixth consecutive game, matching their longest losing streak of the season for the second time. Only the Orioles, with 13 consecutive losses, have an active losing streak of more games. It was also the Sox's eighth loss in their past 10 games. ... Joey Gathright had two of Boston's three hits against Roy Halladay on Wednesday. It was Gathright's first multihit game since Sept. 24, 2008, against the Tigers while with the Royals. ... Rocco Baldelli made his first career appearance at an infield position, moving from right field to third base in the seventh inning. He stole his first base of the season in the second inning. It was his first stolen base since April 23, 2007, against the Yankees while with the Rays. ... Dusty Brown, who made his pitching debut in the ninth inning, became the 27th different pitcher to appear in a game for the Sox this season, a team high since using 28 in 2006. Overall, the Sox have used 52 total players, the most since using 53 in '06.

Tickets
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On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• NESN

On radio
• WEEI 850, SBN 1150 (Español)

Up next
• Friday: Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka, 3-6, 6.08) vs. Indians (Jeremy Sowers, 6-10, 5.09), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Red Sox (Josh Beckett, 16-6, 3.78) vs. Indians (Aaron Laffey, 7-8, 3.91), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Red Sox (Clay Buchholz, 7-4, 3.74) vs. Indians (Tomo Ohka, 1-4, 5.45), 1:35 p.m. ET

Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.