Red Sox’s J.D. Martinez Impressing Alex Cora With Strong Start To Season

Martinez recorded at least one hit in each of the first three games

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April 4, 2021

J.D. Martinez is out to prove his doubters wrong.

The Red Sox designated hitter was one of the only bright spots in a dismal opening weekend that resulted in Boston getting swept by the Baltimore Orioles. He had at least one hit in each of the first three games and launched his first home run of the season in Sunday’s loss at Fenway Park.

Alex Cora noticed Martinez’s success, especially after some of the criticisms he faced last season. And the Red Sox manager believes one particular moment during spring training likely helped sparked the change.

“He’s staying on the ball,” Cora said during his postgame press conference. “We talked a little bit a few days ago — actually at the end of spring training. There was a pitch actually that caught my attention, right? It was up and in, I remember — I think it was against the Braves — it as right by his face. And I don’t know if he didn’t see it or he wasn’t prepared for it, and I said, ‘J.D., I know you’re working on your mechanics and all that, but you have to compete. And I don’t want to say that was a wake-up call, that pitch, but since that day, the approach is different.

“He’s such a workaholic. Like in spring training, we saw him swinging and swinging and swinging, chasing pitches. And then all of a sudden, boom. The strike zone gets smaller. He gets pitches that he can handle and he’s striking balls. That was a good pitch down in the zone, and he put a good swing on it. (He) stayed on the breaking ball, that was a good one. So it was good to see him start off this way.”

Prior to Opening Day, Martinez said he was “tired of being judged” for his performance during Major League Baseball’s abbreviated 2020 season. And so far, he has done a good job of showing the potential he has for the 2021 campaign.

We’re only three games into the season, though, so fans would be wise to take Martinez’s advice and not judge him (or the Red Sox, for that matter) based on his start to the season. After all, there still are 159 games left in the regular season.

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