Moving Forward

Florida State assistant coach <b>Mike Martin Jr.</b> is well aware Rice won the school's first NCAA title in any sport Monday night with a 14-2 victory over Stanford in the CWS' most-lopsided championship game. It's just Martin has been busy with the Seminoles' summer baseball camps to pay too much attention to CWS play. Click here for an update on the team's upcoming plans as well as surgery news on Derrick Smith and Eddy Martinez-Esteve.

Florida State assistant coach Mike Martin Jr. is well aware Rice won the school's first NCAA title in any sport Monday night with a 14-2 victory over Stanford in the CWS' most-lopsided championship game.

It's just Martin has been busy with the Seminoles' summer baseball camps to pay too much attention to CWS play. Still, the hurt of not making it to Omaha, Neb., for the third consecutive year lingers.

"Anytime you don't make it out there you are disappointed," Martin said Tuesday afternoon.

"But it's just one of those things. If you are not 100 percent, or close to it, there's a pretty good chance that, in college baseball, you are not going to perform the way you want to perform. We just couldn't keep them healthy."

FSU, of course, fell to Texas in two games in Super Regional play at Dick Howser Stadium earlier this month. The Seminoles' limped to the finish line as injuries played havoc with the team's lineup.

Two returning players -- outfielder Derrick Smith and third baseman Eddy Martinez-Esteve -- are/will be on the mend.

Smith, a sweet-hitting lefty who started 29 games, recently underwent surgery to his right wrist (broken bone suffered swinging). Esteve, the team's leading hitter who was plagued by a hamstring pull late in the year, is scheduled for knee surgery (meniscus) next month.

Shortstop Stephen Drew, meanwhile, also continues to recover from a hamstring strain suffered against the Longhorns. Drew is expected to join Seminole teammates Rhett James, Matt Sauls, Mark Sauls and Kevin Lynch in the Cape Cod League at some point this summer.

Other returnees also playing in summer league include Danny Wardell, Glen Simon, Hunter Jones and Matt DiBlasi.

Of course, FSU coaches face a huge rebuilding year next season. Of the eight players named first- or second-team All-ACC, only Drew returns.

Be it the major-league draft, graduation or attrition, FSU loses eight starters that won 54 games and reached the super regional. The group includes the weekend starting rotation. Reliever Daniel Hodges also departs following his senior year. The departing players accounted for 38 wins on the mound, 12 saves and 271 of FSU's 509 RBIs.

FSU also lost its top two signees as well as assistant coach Link Jarrett, who took a full-time position with Mercer. This is Jarrett's final week with the program as he also helps with FSU's camps.

Additionally, it's not known whether pitcher Marc LaMacchia plans to return or sign a professional contract as well after missing most of the season following elbow surgery.

"It's like when Michigan lost its Fab Five -- that's what we are going to be like," Martin Jr. said.

"We are going to have a chance to run a lot of freshmen out there, first-year players. There's going to be some great battles, some great competition during the preseason practice which is going to make everyone better. The big thing is we told them (team meeting) to be ready for some battles."

Martin, Jr. also believes completion to renovated Dick Howser Stadium will also help the Seminoles' next season.

"It will definitely help to get some sort of structure and schedule to your routine, " Martin said.

"We didn't have the cages for a while, the bullpen. Everything was fine but at the same time, to keep things running smoothly… from spending 30 minutes of time running out there to tell them what you wanted because you couldn't hear out there. We need a structured preseason to get these kids ready."

When Martin has a free second to reflect on last season, he is proud of the team's effort. Still, the ultimate goal remains. The Rice Owls are celebrating that accomplishment today.

"To go through a season like we did this year and still have a very good season, you have to be pleased with that," Martin said.

"The effort that you got out of the guys who were able to play. On the other hand, we didn't reach our goal and obviously didn't reach our ultimate goal, it's one of those things where you start preparing for next year and try to keep your mind of off it."


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