Fond of Ramirez

Former Major League great Dennis Martinez has been at Progressive Field as part of a weekend honoring the Indians’ 1995 team.

That afforded the native Nicaraguan an opportunity to see his countryman, Erasmo Ramirez, pitch for the Rays. Ramirez, who had to leave the game with a strained-right groin, is currently the only native Nicaraguan in the Major Leagues. Prior to Ramirez’s injury, Martinez spoke glowingly about Ramirez.

“I was looking forward to seeing him pitch live, because I’ve only been watching him pitch on TV,” Martinez said. “I know what Erasmo was going through when he was with Seattle. I thought it was the best thing for him to be traded somewhere else. I’m glad it happened it was the Tampa Bay Rays, because Jim Hickey to me is the best pitching coach in baseball right now. He knows what it takes to get a pitcher in the right frame of mind.”

Martinez noted that he had talked to Ramirez and “he’s really happy.”

“He’s enjoying [himself] being around the guys,” Martinez said. “They’re all rooting for one purpose to win the ballgame every day. … I just watch his eyes and his face, I can see how happy he is. I said, ‘Hey man, have fun and keep pitching because this team is going to need you.'”

Martinez said it was great to see another Nicaraguan pitching in the Major Leagues.

“Erasmo is a great kid from a little town,” Martinez said. “He has done everything possible he can out of nowhere, because of his size and everything else. But that kid is so strong and so good, and so humble, that everything you see on him is a smile and it’s a pure smile. … He’s in the right place. He’s with the right team. And believe me, he’s going to help that team to win the division.”

–Bill Chastain

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