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Martinez, who will vie for the fifth spot in the St. Louis Cardinals pitching rotation, has taken on the jersey number worn by Oscar and is dedicating his season to his friend.
In 2014, Carlos was shuffled around a lot being used as a starter, long relief and reliever. He didn’t have a consistent role with the pitching staff and he just did whatever was asked of him. He was often seen in the dugout being everyone’s cheerleader. He has a load of enthusiasm that is just infectious.
He’s also had his share of youthful mistakes. Including an incident where several of his favorite tweets were discovered to be that of scantily clad ladies. Sure. It’s his life. He’s grown and can do as he wishes. But? Carlos is seen as a role model for kids. Not exactly appropriate. Imagine explaining that one to your son! No thanks!
So. Here are my hopes for Carlos’s offseason.
* Channel the pain of his lost friend into something great. Whether it is starting a stop drunk driving campaign, spending time with at-risk youth. He has a moment to do something great. I hope he capitalizes on it.
* Be that fifth starter. Speaking of channeling his pain to something great, this is one thing Carlos wants and can do. He wants to be the fifth starter. He will have his chance. He is dedicating this season to his friend. He has a real opportunity to step up huge and earn this spot in the rotation. He won’t be given this role. Marco Gonzales is chomping at the bit to earn a starters role with the team. And who knows if the team is looking at outside sources. Carlos has the opportunity. He must take it.
* Don’t be fearful of talking it out. I’m sure Carlos has a lot of feelings about the loss of Oscar. I know Mike Matheny and several teammates are keeping an eye on him and making sure he is ok. I hope this continues during the season and especially on road trips. It’s a huge loss. It’s ok to feel your feelings.
* Have fun. Be great. Simply put. This is a big season for Carlos.