J.D. Martinez

Kim Klement/USA Today Sports

J.D. Martinez says he won't succumb to pressure in Boston after Red Sox debut

John Tomase
March 07, 2018 - 6:20 pm

J.D. Martinez won't step to the plate for an at-bat that matters for another three weeks, but for now, he feels good about his spring training debut.

Martinez hit cleanup and went 0-for-2 with a pair of flyouts in his first action since signing a five-year, $110 million contract. The Red Sox dropped a split-squad 8-1 decision to the Twins at JetBlue Park.

"It felt good to get out there," Martinez told reporters. "Seeing the ball, just going up there and trying to slow the ball down best I can and swing at strikes, really. All I was really worried about, get a pitch over the plate and put a good swing on it, all I was trying to do."

After spending his career in smaller markets like Houston, Detroit, and Arizona, Martinez wasn't taken aback to see a group of reporters awaiting him in the middle of Wednesday's game. He's similarly trying not to put extra pressure on himself to produce after blasting 45 homers last year.

"To me, I feel like you guys have the expectations, the fans and the media," he told reporters. "I'm just going to go out there and play my game and do what I've been doing the last four or five years. As far as the pressure and stuff goes, just try and go out there and try to play my game. Obviously ignore it. Playing in Boston, it's a big market and there's going to be a lot more but I think it will be a good test of handling it."

He's not going to view spring training as anything other than preparation.

"I have nothing to prove right now in spring training," he said. "I just go out there and worry about me getting ready, that's the way I'm looking at it."

If Martinez made a mark, it was defensively, where he made a pair of solid catches, including one on a sinker liner.

Manager Alex Cora considers Martinez on schedule.

"He's not behind at all," Cora said. "Just get ready, he probably has what, 12 at-bats already, he's in a good spot and he feels good. With his work ethic, I'm not even worried."

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