Learning more about Victor
Though, in a way, it feels like Victor Martinez has been here all year, we continue to learn new things about him.
In the first game of today’s doubleheader, we learned that he can block the plate like, well, Jason Varitek.
It was the seventh inning and the Rays looked poised to take the lead when Dustin Pedroia ranged up the middle, but his hurried throw sailed wide right on Casey Kotchman. The tying run scored from third and Gabe Gross had visions of scoring from second. But Kotchman recovered the ball quickly and fired a strike to Martinez, who then blocked Gross’s path just in time by sticking his leg out, and he swiftly tagged him out. Great play as you can see right here in the video.
Catching instructor Gary Tuck was proud to see it, just like he was two weeks ago when Varitek made perhaps even a better block of home to prevent a run against the Blue Jays.
“He’s one of the best in the game [at blocking the plate],” said Red Sox catching instructor Gary Tuck. “Overall
blocking the plate, he’s very good at it. His timing is good, he takes
some chances, but he just let a runner slide straight into the plate
and steered him right off. He’s a big kid, too. That’s a hell of a play. You don’t see that much.
You see sweep tags now and bail outs. You don’t see men sticking their
legs out there. He’s sacrificing himself for the team.”
“Him and Tek a few games ago. You can go a year and a half without seeing two
plays like that and they did it within a week. That’s special.”
The play that Varitek made was on Aug. 28, so it actually wasn’t quite within a week, but Tuck’s point is still well taken
“It was a play at the plate. Casey made a good play. Good reaction, good read, gave me a good throw that I could handle it and make the play,” Martinez said. “I always use my legs a lot to block the plate.”