Padres Prospect Interview: Luis Martinez

Luis Martinez got off to a hot start with the Eugene Emeralds and when Mitch Canham had to have surgery, the backstop was moved up to Fort Wayne. He got off to a slow start in the Midwest League but has bounced back and is started to see the ball well.

Talk to me about joining the Padres and what you have seen since you have arrived.

Luis Martinez: It has definitely been great so far. I thank the Padres for giving me an opportunity to play professional baseball.

We have some great talent, some great pitching. We have the team to make it in the playoffs as well. We have to play with our hearts – I know we have the talents.

You got off to a good hitting start in Eugene before seeing a lull – how comfortable are you up there at the plate right now?

Luis Martinez: I am very comfortable. I still have a lot to learn as a player and am out here everyday trying to learn as much as I can. As for my strengths as a player – this is only my fourth year catching. It is not new to me but I am still a beginner at it. I am working hard with Carlos (Hernandez). If I work hard enough at it hopefully I will be in the major leagues like Carlos was.

What kind of information is he giving you that you can take immediately into a game?

Luis Martinez: Pitchouts – we were just taught to step out and throw from there. We were talking about stepping out when he raises his leg and stepping out to the front when receiving it and throwing it – we gain at least 10 feet towards second base.

We did blocking drills as well. I am used to dropping forward but he said to kick back so when the ball hits you it won't be as hard and won't jump off so hard. It will land in the area so if the runner goes you can pick it up and throw.

It is so small. He has helped us out a lot. It is amazing. I learned a lot.

You have worked with a lot of different pitchers over two levels now. What is that like?

Luis Martinez: It is definitely hard. I try to learn the pitchers by catching a lot of bullpens so I won't be surprised when it comes to the game and he throws a nasty slider and I don't know it is coming.

Did anyone surprise you on the mound? Is there someone specific that has just great bite to a pitch?

Luis Martinez: (Mat) Latos – his changeup. Well, he calls it a changeup but I wouldn't call it that. It loops up and at the last minute drops off the table. That is one of the pitches that was hard to catch up to.

You are working a few other catchers on the roster. How difficult is it when you find yourself on the bench a few times a week when you want to play as a professional?

Luis Martinez: I am not worried about that. I am worried about doing as much as I can during early work – learning as much as I can. If he sits me for two days I am fine with that. Whenever I get the opportunity to play I will do my best and hopefully it will grow from there.

I have just started. I am trying to learn as much as I can about the game.

We didn't talk much about your bat – but what is the strength of your game?

Luis Martinez: I am more of a gap-to-gap hitter. I tend to hit the ball the opposite way a lot. I will pull the ball when I have to. In college the pitcher's tendency was to throw me hard away so that is where I am more of a hitter. My first homer was to right-center. That is where I have my power.

Our hitting coach has been working with me on not so much pulling the ball more but going to center so if the ball does come in I have time to react and if it goes away I have time to sit back and go the other way.

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