BOSTON -- Former Boston manager Terry Francona gave Pedro Martinez a big hug along with some advice to help him in his new job as a special assistant to the Red Sox general manager.
"Now he's going to have to be on time," Francona needled his former pitcher on Thursday when the two were reunited at the annual dinner of the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
A three-time Cy Young Award winner and eight-time All-Star who spent seven seasons in Boston, Martinez returned to the city where he had his best years. His role is still undefined -- he has the same title as former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek -- but Martinez said he would be willing to help with the pitchers, work in the minor leagues and generally be a friend to GM Ben Cherington.
"Varitek, Pedro -- they are the Red Sox," Francona said.
Martinez spent his first day back on the Boston masthead at a lunch with Cherington, new Red Sox manager John Farrell, CEO Larry Lucchino and Boston Mayor Tom Menino and some civic leaders. Martinez said Menino had been welcoming to him when he first arrived in Boston in 1998 and once again was forthcoming with advice about where to live and what to do in the city.
"Menino was a friend to me," Martinez said.
Martinez was acquired from the salary-dumping Montreal Expos after the 1997 season, a few months before he would be awarded his first Cy Young. He instantly became the ace of the Red Sox staff, the biggest character
Martinez said his experience with the team during that era can help players who are trying to recover from last season's last-place finish.
"There was something missing, in the clubhouse, the players, around Fenway. This offseason, they realized that they lost something," Martinez said, noting that the addition of Farrell as manager and players such as Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli. "We have the right group of people. These guys coming in have great, great character."