The former pitching star of standout clubs in Baltimore, Montreal and three others from 1976-1998 was lured back into uniform by Cardinals farm director Jeff Luhnow and took the reins of the pitching staff of the inaugural version of the Gulf Coast League Cardinals in 2007.
Moving up to full season ball in 2008, the 52-year-old accepted a comparable role with the Palm Beach Cardinals, the organization's A-Advanced affiliate located in Jupiter, Florida. After 13 games, his pitchers rank an impressive first in the pitching-heavy Florida State League with an aggregate ERA of 2.19, a major reason the Cardinals have leapt out to an early 9-4 record.
Trim and tanned, the man called "El Presidente" during his 23 years as a major league player looks as if he could still fire the ball past enemy batters. When I caught up with him on a recent afternoon, Martinez had just completed throwing batting practice to the eager Palm Beach hitters.
In this exclusive interview, Martinez discusses the tandem starting system implemented in Palm Beach for the first time this season, his philosophy in working with young pitchers, many of the standout hurlers in his class of 2008 and much more.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2008 stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.