The St. Louis Cardinals will be without the services of first baseman Jose Martinez this weekend in their series against the Chicago Cubs as the first baseman will be returning to Venezuela for the birth of his daughter.
“”I think Marmol hasn’t talked to me since I got here, so I know he’s pretty mad about it,” laughed Martinez. “But he’s happy too about it and I know the whole team is happy for me. It’s an important series, but you can’t figure out what God decides.”
Martinez enters tonight as one of the hottest hitters in the league–his .472 average for the month ranks 2nd and his 5 home runs are tied for third most in June. That’s some firepower the Cardinals could use in any series, but especially against division rival Chicago.
“Babies take precedent,” said Mike Matheny. “Big series for us, but that’s a monumental life occurrence.”
The paternity list was used earlier this season by Greg Garcia and Dexter Fowler and his wife are also expecting in a few weeks.
Martinez will meet back up with the team on Sunday in Philadelphia to be ready for Monday’s series opener against the Phillies.
To ready for the situation, the Cardinals optioned first baseman Luke Voit from Memphis (AAA) to Springfield (AA) with plans to be recalled to St. Louis on Friday. Memphis just concluded a homestand and opens a series on the road tonight in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“We need Luke to get sharp and then we’ll be bringing him back,” explained Matheny.
Meanwhile, Martinez is anxious to introduce his 4-year old son to a new little sister, who will be named Alana.
“Actually, every time I mention that to him he wants to see her already,” said Jose.
With the conflict and protests in Venezuela, it hasn’t been easy for Martinez the last couple of years to be away from his family. Not too mention the difficulty to focus on playing baseball.
“It is, but I think I’m used to it,” said Martinez. “There’s a lot of situations in the past that I have to just go–every time I go across those lines, I just have to pay attention to baseball and perform.
“When the game is over, you start worrying about the stuff in Venezuela. Right now, it’s a blessing to have another kid. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing to be for them and just try to get them here. I’m never going to be tired to do everything I can to get them here.”
“That’s tough,” said Matheny. “There’s just so much turmoil in his country overall. It’s always been on his mind. So many things last year, you could tell it was weighing heavy on him. But these guys do a good job of giving everything that they have to their family when they’re away from here and to their country, but when they’re here they’re giving everything they have to doing their job as best they can.”
Both the Cardinals and his agency are trying to help Martinez, who is hopeful that after the season the visa situation can be squared away to allow his children to visit him in the United States.
photo credit: Joe Puetz, Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports