Pedro Martinez throws first pitch at season opener

BOSTON (AP) Pedro Martinez(notes) threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Boston Red Sox hosted the New York Yankees in the first game of the season Sunday night.

The former Red Sox ace emerged from behind an American flag covering nearly the entire left-field wall and walked slowly toward the mound, smiling and waving at cheering fans. They booed lightly when Martinez shook hands with Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez(notes) in short left field.

Martinez threw his pitch high and inside to Boston catcher Jason Varitek(notes). Then the pitcher walked behind home plate and embraced 90-year-old Johnny Pesky, a former player, coach and manager of the Red Sox, who was seated on a chair on the field wearing the team’s uniform.

The 38-year-old Martinez is a free agent after pitching last year for the Philadelphia Phillies, who signed him July 15. He was 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA in the regular season.

His last appearance came in the sixth and final game of the World Series, a 7-3 win by the Yankees that clinched their 27th championship. Martinez, who also lost Game 2 despite a solid performance, gave up four runs over four innings in the finale.

In the last of his seven seasons with the Red Sox in 2004, he was part of the team that won the club’s first championship since 1918. From 1998 through 2004, the right-hander was 117-37 with a 2.52 ERA and two AL Cy Young Awards with Boston.


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Updated Sunday, Apr 4, 2010