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Rivalry? Let's not forget how Pedro Martinez helped make Yankees ace Luis Severino

Rob Bradford
May 08, 2018 - 9:51 am

NEW YORK -- It's just an accepted reality: Pedro Martinez, while employed by the Red Sox, had a huge hand in turning Luis Severino into the Yankees ace Boston is slated to run into Tuesday night.

Welcome to the real world of baseball rivalries.

As much as we want to believe that the hatred that is spawned on the field and when looking at the standings carries over, that's not really how it works the majority of the time. We saw it last year when after feuding because of a bunt, the Red Sox' Eduardo Nunez and CC Sabathia of the Yankees talked it out almost immediately after the initial barbs were thrown back and forth.

And then when benches cleared on April 11, two worthwhile charitable causes were immediately launched by the chief participants -- Tyler Austin and Joe Kelly -- taking advantage of the brouhaha.

But perhaps the best example of the true dynamic when it comes to the world of baseball is Martinez's work with Severino.

Martinez was collecting paychecks from the the Red Sox as a special assistant to Dave Dombrowski when he dug into the mechanics of Severino's delivery prior to the pitcher's breakout 2017 season. The Yankees starter was coming out of a miserable 2016 season in which he finished at 3-8 with a 5.83 ERA. Last year? Severino became one of the American League's best pitchers, a metamorphosis he credits at least partially to his work with Martinez.

"It's not every day that you get to work with a player like that, a Hall of Famer, who decides to help you," Severino told ESPN.com. "It feels incredible. He is a great person. I would have never thought Pedro Martínez would be like that. It was an incredible moment."

So, as Severino continues to blossom, is there any uneasiness on the behalf of Martinez? Nope.

Appearing on WEEI in February, the Hall of Famer explained where is coming from in regards to his role in Severino's development. (To listen to the entire interview, click here.)

"To me, no and I’m going to say this in a personal way: I feel like once I retired, my duty with society, with baseball, the best gift I can actually supply for baseball is my knowledge, my experience, my own way of doing things easier for all the players," Martinez said. "I think it’s our duty, believe it or not. I don’t know if many people would be brave enough to express this, but our duty is not to really to keep it within and within the organization either, it’s to pass it along.

"We all talk in life in all sorts of life, we talk about passing along the good things, passing along the good experience, passing along the hugs and the good feel for everything that you do, passing along the support. So for me, I feel like anybody, and it doesn’t have to be Severino. Like this year, I’m going to be point blank open. I had Severino, I had [Mets pitcher Hansel] Robles, I had [Jeurys] Familia, I had like six or seven of them that I actually work with, including another kid [Carlos] Carrasco from Cleveland. I stopped Cleveland in 1999 in the postseason but who will ever figure out that I will be helping one of the pitching stuff in Cleveland? 

"You know, I get all kinds of players coming over asking. Ervin Santana, who actually got to revive his career at the end, Fernando Rodney, those are guys that I interact with. Anything that I can do. But I think, our duty as retired players and players that have been through the game and had some success in the game is to pass along what we learned, how we did it, how it worked for us, just in case it works for them. And Severino is one special guy, because Severino ever since he signed, the picture he had was my baseball card hanging on his locker all over. The video he would look at on his phone was my video, every single day. I was his idol because he was young and he got to see me actually in my prime and I was the one he fell in love with. He didn’t know he was going to sign with the Yankees when he was watching me. So he fell in love before he signed with the Yankees and as he became a Yankee, he wanted to do things like me. As a matter of fact, it must be great to be good because the little things that I relayed to Severino, who deserved all the credit, it seems like are falling to me but in reality, it’s Severino doing it and adjusting to little things I thought I could correct."

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