Yordano Ventura is turning to former major league ace Pedro Martinez as a source of wisdom.
Ventura, like many pitchers who grow up in the Dominican Republic, idolizes Martinez. The Kansas City Royals’ young fireballer has a unique connection with Martinez that already has proven beneficial.
“For me, Pedro Martinez has always been that player for me from the Dominican that I learn from and grow from,” Ventura told reporters Tuesday through interpreter Jeremy Guthrie. “I speak with him more or less every other day at this point, and Pedro always encourages me to be myself again and to treat every game just like I always have.”
Martinez was one of the best pitchers of the modern era. He completely dominated in the late 1990s and early 2000s, earning three Cy Young Awards and eight All-Star selections. If there’s anyone whose advice Ventura should heed before he takes the mound against the San Francisco Giants in Game 2 of the World Series, it’s undoubtedly Martinez.
“He says, ‘No game is more important, go out there relaxed,’ ” Ventura said Tuesday. “So I just do my pitches and be myself.
“And like I say, Pedro’s the most impactful player from my native country.”
Ventura went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 31 games (30 starts) in his first full season with the Royals. The 23-year-old has had a couple of hiccups this postseason, but he doesn’t appear rattled leading up to his Game 2 showdown with veteran Giants hurler Jake Peavy.
“My big focus is always to make sure I treat it as the same game as during the regular season,” Ventura said. “Go out and execute every pitch as I have throughout the season. Remain calm and treat it like any other game.”
Perhaps Martinez deserves some credit for keeping Ventura on an even keel.
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