For Fernando Martinez, Injuries Provide a Second Chance

Michael GanciCorrespondent IJune 23, 2009

NEW YORK - MAY 31:  Fernando Martinez #26 of the New York Mets in action against the Florida Marlins during their game on May 31, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

When looking at the big picture, it is very difficult to be positive when talking about the Mets from a health perspective.

With the recent addition of Carlos Beltran to the Mets' never-ending disabled list, it would seem like the Mets are throwing out a pile of scrubs on a day-to-day basis. But when a guy goes down, an opportunity is created for someone who wasn’t on the roster beforehand.

That is certainly the case with 20-year-old Fernando Martinez.

In his first go-around with the club, Martinez didn’t seem ready for the task at hand. In 62 at-bats for the Mets, he batted .194 with just 12 hits. Five of those were of the extra base variety, and Martinez certainly showed that he can drive the ball when he makes contact.

Martinez also stole two bases in his short tenure with the Mets, and he could be an excellent source of speed if he cracks the lineup on a consistent basis.

Thus far, it has appeared that Fernando has taken the aggressive approach, and now that he has seen the kind of pitches the NL will throw his way, he needs to change his approach just a bit.

I have noticed that he swings at plenty of pitches that are low and away. If he can be a little more patient at the plate, he may get ahead in more counts, which will lead to more pitches to drive.

The kid needs to play hungry. If the team stayed healthy since his most recent demotion, he was probably going to be in Buffalo until the September call-ups, but the baseball gods are looking out for him. If he continues to play solid defense, and if the bat starts to come alive, he could stick around for more than the immediate future.

This kid is a key element to the future of the New York Mets, and I hope we are about to see him develop in front of our own eyes.

Remember, Angel Pagan is on final approach in terms of a return, and if Fernando doesn’t get off to a quick start, he could be demoted again, and that is the last thing that he wants to happen.

It’s time to play some good smart baseball.

Like Willie Mays Hays in Major League, utilize your speed, and make sure you run out every pop up. That way, you may get a few extra bases that you didn’t initially deserve.