Around the AL East

Around the AL East
January 27, 2013, 11:30 pm
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How goes it around the American League East?

*The Red Sox have brought Pedro Martinez back into the fold with a post as assistant to general manager Ben Cherington.

“This team, this city, it’s in my heart,” the retired All-Star pitcher said Thursday, as reported by the Boston Globe. “I feel like I can add something and help the team be great again.”

Martinez, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, may do some spring training instruction.

“The situation is right. They need people like me that can probably relate to the players, relate to the [front] office and have the good communication and interest. It all depends on how much is needed from me. I love being on the field. I’ll spend as much time as they need.”

*The Rays have a lease for Tropicana Field through 2027, but that may not mean much with year after year of disappointing attendance despite having built a contending team. They were 30th in the majors in attendance last year. That’s last place, despite nearly making the playoffs.

So it can’t be that surprising that club owner Stuart Sternberg recently told the Hillsborough County Commission that Major League Baseball “at this point, doesn't believe anymore in the Tampa Bay area.”

MLB issued this statement: "The commissioner … is disappointed with the current situation in the Tampa Bay market. The status quo is simply not sustainable.”

Sternberg told the commission “Tropicana Field is too far away from the demographic and business center of Tampa,” reported.

*The Blue Jays picked up J.A. Happ from the Astros last year near the non-waiver trade deadline, with the idea that he would be part of their rotation. That’s looking less likely these days.

In fact, Happ could be heated back to the minors at age 30.

"Once we traded for R.A [Dickey], I called J.A. immediately, and he understood," general manager Alex Anthopoulos told "He wants to start like anybody else. He was excited to potentially be a starter on this team. Right now, he's the sixth starter, but he knows things can change fast.  I can't assure him he will be on the team, and that's just being honest. I'd rather have the uncomfortable conversation immediately so no one has been lied to, no one has been misled."

It’s not that the Jays don’t want so many pitchers known by their initials. In addition to Dickey, they have also added Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson.

Happ, with a career win-loss record of 35-35, has never matched his 2009 season with the Phillies, when he went 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA and two shutouts.