New Arizona manager Torey Lovullo spent just one season with the Mariners — the strike-shortened 1994 season — but that was sufficient for him to develop a deep appreciation for Edgar Martinez’s skills.
Speaking Wednesday on "MLB on TuneIn LIVE" with Holden Kushner and LaTroy Hawkins, Lovullo offered a ringing endorsement for Martinez as a Hall of Fame candidate.
"First of all, I believe he’s a Hall of Famer," Lovullo said. "I think he’s the best right-handed hitter that I have ever played with or really seen to this day. There's some very capable right-handed hitters in this game today, but Edgar’s ability to make adjustments from pitch-to-pitch, from at bat-to-at bat, from game-to-game, was as good as anybody I’ve ever seen."
Martinez concluded his 18-year playing career in 2004 and currently serves as the Mariners’ hitting coach. He is one of 34 candidates this month on the Hall of Fame ballot.
"Some of the things that he would work on in practice would just kind of leave me shaking my head," said Lovullo, whose eight-year playing career ended in 1999.
"Trying to get his stride direction a quarter-of-an-inch straighter toward the pitcher instead of diving into the plate. His hand position and his bat path he would work on consistently.
"How pitchers were working him, he would go up to the plate and say, `I’m going to hit this fastball that he’s gonna throw me on the inside plate down the right field line for a double, and he's go out and do it.
"It was almost unbelievable how easy hitting was to him. I knew from my situation that I was a guy that had trouble hitting, period. And when that was happening and then Edgar can make it look so easy, like he's playing Wiffle Ball in the backyard with his brothers, it left me shaking my head."
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners