Red Sox pitcher Brayan Bello has long wanted to develop a slider to pair with his tremendous sinker-changeup combo, so he spent this past offseason working with the best in the business — Pedro Martinez.

They’ve actually spent the last few winters working together.

Bello worked on his craft at Martinez’s property in the Dominican Republic, which essentially is a tradition at this point. Martinez believes Bello is more “talented” than he was and is trying to guide the 24-year-old down a path of sustained success.

“I was able to work out with him three or four times,” Bello told reporters through a translator at JetBlue Park on Thursday, as seen on NESN. “When I got there, my slider wasn’t in the best shape. He gave me a few tips, and that same day, I was able to get a good grip on it. I was trying it consistently and then in the next few days, I was gaining more confidence with it. It was a very good time that I spent with him helping me to get my slider back sharp.”

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Bello didn’t just work on his arsenal. He also worked on his body. It’s been so noticeable, in fact, that Red Sox manager Alex Cora — who had a life-changing offseason of his own — claimed he’s finally grown into a man.

“He’s getting ready for the season,” Cora said, as seen on NESN. “It’s a lot different than last year. I think physically, he’s way ahead. … It’s not that he took it for granted, but he was very specific this offseason the things he needed to work on, especially body-wise. You see him around. He’s grown into a man now. He’s gained some weight, he looks stronger, he did an outstanding job in the offseason. Now, it’s about his buildup and being ready for the opening series.”

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Bello faded toward the end of last season, finishing with a 12-11 record and a 4.24 ERA. It was still a season of marked improvement, however, as the slender right-hander overcame an early demotion to Triple-A Worcester to pitch more than 150 innings.

If he can build on that, the Red Sox will be in good shape regarding his future as a potential ace.

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Featured image via Nathan Ray Seebeck/USA TODAY Sports Images