Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Joe Martinez back in action

Don't call it a failed expirement, Ryan Sadowski just pitched well above expectations AND above anything he put together in the lower minors. He was bound to hit some struggles eventually. Think back to spring training; Sadowski wasn't ever mentioned as a guy to be this years long reliever, nevertheless the teams fifth starter.

Joe Martinez won that job. Kevin Pucetas was a close second. Justin Miller and Brandon Medders were the surprises in the pen. Even free agent lefty specialist was touted as a potential starting candidate (although that was before he spent 28 scoreless innings pushing Brian Wilson in the closers role). In the end, it was always supposed to be Martinez.

After 4 solid seasons in the minors, with steady improvement each year, Martinez headed into last offseason with the expectation he could push for a roster spot. He won it and looked like he would excel early.

Spring training went very well as he solidified his opening day roster spot as the long man.

Martinez saw his first action opening day as he came in behind a struggling Tim Lincecum shut down the opposition and take the win himself.

About a week later in just his second appearance of the season, pitching to Mike Cameron of the Milwaukee Brewers, Martinez took a lined shot off his head... The result was multiple skull fractures and a very long road to recovery.

Joe has been in Triple-A Fresno for month now rehabbing. In his 5 starts, he has not only put up good numbers, but he's pitching with confidence. More importantly, he's pitching without fear. He's earned his trip back to the bay, with or without Ryan Sadowski's return flight to earth.

Today Joe Martinez will take the ball in his first professional start. Expectations aside, it'll be great to see this comeback complete. For him, for his teamates, for us fans. For those who watched, or for those who heard...that skull crack, it's something you never forget. 

I'm watching today in anticipation of a guy who I hope can be the next great pitcher to be developed out of the Giants system. But I'm also watching in anticipation of seeing a guy who is about to overcome more adversity than mere mortal ballplayers can fathom. To see him conquer any deamons he might have will be special in it's own right.


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