Future Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez is keeping quite busy as he decides whether or not to return to play in 2011 (don’t bet on it).
The 39-year-old, who compiled a 219-100 record with a 2.93 ERA in 18 seasons, is launching a new school on Monday in his native Dominican Republic.
It will be called the Pedro Martinez Youth Academy and Baseball Park, and it sounds pretty cool, according to a report from Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald.
With a charter school, health services, arts and music programs, plus recreational facilities including basketball and volleyball courts and a baseball park to be called “Little Fenway,’’ the project will be built on land acquired in and around the former site of the very modest house he grew up in the village of Manoguayabo in the hills outside Santo Domingo.
Martinez said his dream is to develop players to the point where they can play exhibition games against U.S. schools like Boston College or Boston University.
As far as his own playing days go, Martinez didn’t sound like a man eager to return. “I don’t know really,” he told Silverman. “I could probably play if I wanted to, I just haven’t decided yet.”
Sounds like he has a noble cause to focus his time on. I imagine the school will keep him plenty busy, and he can just relax and let the clock tick toward a Cooperstown enshrinement in 2015.
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With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.