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Red Sox legend Pedro Martinez offers advice that could end David Price's feud with Boston media

John Tomase
January 30, 2018 - 1:28 pm

David Price's problems last year came down to his dislike of messengers. He lambasted Comcast's Evan Drellich, embarrassed Hall of Fame broadcaster Dennis Eckersley, and engaged in a pointless battle with the media that cast a pall over the entire Red Sox clubhouse.

Red Sox legend Pedro Martinez is no stranger to such conflict. He periodically lost patience with the media, too, and he has some advice for Price that could make 2018 a lot smoother than 2017, as he recently told WEEI's Trenni & Tomase.

"He's really smart. He's a fun loving guy. He's been that fun-loving guy here, too," Martinez said. "The problem is sometimes I see miscommunications between him and the media and the way he handles these things. I think everything is going to change this year, first of all, because he's going to be healthy. That's one thing that would get me frustrated, listening to questions from the media when I was hurt. When I was hurt, I did not want to hear questions. I did not want to hear jokes. I did not want to hear many things. I think he's going to be healthy. I think the media is going to have a blast watching this guy pitch."

When Martinez played, he routinely sparred with WBZ's Jonny Miller, who never met a hard question he wouldn't ask. He sometimes blew up at local columnists like Dan Shaughnessy of the Globe or Steve Buckley of the Herald. But he never let it linger. That's a lesson Price could stand to learn.

"They were negative and I hate negative thoughts around me," Martinez said. "Jonny Miller would be like, 'Are we cursed again!?!' And Shaughnessy would be like, 'Uh-oh, the Curse of the Bambino is back, they're not going to win it again.' Now that we won it, now that we showed we can win it, there's no need to actually be mad at Jonny Miller or Shaughnessy being negative. You realize that once you win, once you do things right, everything becomes a joke. I was the first one to spray Jonny Miller with champagne, on his eyes, because I wanted the negativity to be washed away, and it (was). Since then, three championships, everyone's happy."

Well, not everybody. Price arrived in Boston with the reputation as an excellent teammate, but he wore a near-constant scowl last season. Martinez traces that cloudy disposition to the spring training elbow injury that jeopardized Price's season and landed him in the bullpen for the playoffs.

Price dominated in that role, and Martinez believes it should be the jumping-off point for this season.

"We saw it during the postseason," he said. "When we saw David Price come out of the bullpen and do what he did for Boston, everybody embraced him. I think everything revolves around that. You perform out there, you do what Chris Sale is doing, everybody embraces it.

"Now when you're struggling and you're hurt and you can't show everybody else what you're capable of doing, it's a little bit frustrating, so for the media, they start digging to ask when are you going to pitch, when are you going to feel better, when are you going to be able to contribute with the team. It's frustrating. I don't blame him for feeling a little bit cranky. But at the same time, I expect the media to really just stop and look at this guy perform. And I think he's going to be able to do that because he's healthy, he's got enough rest. And they will see how much fun he is and how good of a guy he is."

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