March 23, 2004

Questions About Pedro's Velocity. Sean McAdam: "Martinez has been pain-free all spring, but some in management are asking why Martinez has yet to top 90 mph on radar guns in three Grapefruit League outings. There's also some fear that his lower arm angle ... is indicative of some soreness in the shoulder. ... One theory is that Martinez has deliberately held back from throwing as hard as he's capable of this spring because the Sox have not been more aggressive in their efforts to sign him. ... At the same time, Red Sox management could be asking the same question from their perspective: Why should we commit to him if he won't -- or can't -- throw harder than he's thrown?"

It is believed that if a deal isn't reached before the end of spring training, both the Red Sox and Martinez will not negotiate until after the season. I would be heartbroken to see Pedro in another team's uniform, but I don't have a problem with waiting until November. Everything Theo et al. has said and done shows me that they are content to wait. They want to see how Pedro performs this season and how his shoulder holds up before committing to him for another 3-4 years. If Martinez has another superb season and remains healthy, I don't see any reason why a deal could not be reached in the fall.

Player notes: Ellis Burks has not been cleared to play the outfield, but he believes he's getting close. ... Bill Mueller strained his right triceps swinging a lead-weight bat on Saturday, but says it is "nothing major." ... Byung-Hyun Kim threw from about 75 feet Sunday and did well, according to Terry Francona. ... Trot Nixon has begun his core-strengthening program. ... A look at two former replacement players -- Kevin Millar and Brian Daubach.

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