After a spring training of worrying about what might happen, J.D. Martinez has found himself with a scenario worse than he could have imagined back in February.
While there was already talk of limiting access to video for hitters during and after Major League Baseball games prior to the current pandemic, the limitations were taken to another level due to COVID-19-induced restrictions.
It has left Martinez, and some of his teammates, befuddled, a feeling the Red Sox designated hitter shared after his team's 5-1 loss to the Rays Tuesday night.
"The man upstairs (commissioner Rob Manfred) is the one running the show and makes the rules," Martinez said. "It’s tough but we’ve got to adjust and adapt, find a way and keep going."
He then added, "I've said it before when I was in Double-A we had video. You can go back and look at your video in double a so I think guys are accustomed to that. You depend on that. The new wave of hitting. I said this before to you guys in spring training when you asked about it it’s a new wave of hitting guys are more mechanical they break down their swings they look for certain movements and check certain spots that they get to at different times when they’re loading and landing but all that is not a thing anymore."
Martinez has shown signs he is figuring out this new dynamic as of late, coming away with two hits in the most recent loss including a ground-rule double that came a few feet from becoming his first home run of the year.
But, as he explained it, the video restriction isn't just about him. It is a tool which is usually passed around among the Red Sox hitters, aiding in exiting the kind of slump Andrew Benintendi (2-for-29) currently finds himself in.
"I mean, honestly, years in the past I probably already would have been able to get in the video room, break his swing down, look at it, do some comparisons," Martinez explained when asked about the Sox' left fielder. "It’s kind of what I do for most of the guys on the team. Anytime they’re going through some stuff, I kind of dedicate some time after the game, before the game, or something, during the game, if I just hit or something like that, I can kind of throw them a bone. As you guys know, we don’t have access to any of that stuff anymore. It’s kind of everyone on their own. Survivor."
Martinez then went into detail regarding the dynamic they are facing with the new restrictions on video.
"Guys are struggling and trying to work. It’s tough when you don’t know what to work on or what to do so everyone is feeling for stuff and it’s a tough situation," he said. "We’re only allowed to be here five hours before game time, that doesn't leave a lot of time for guys to go in the cage and grind it out and figure it out with the hitting coach. It’s tough. I mean it’s a tough hand. We’ve got to find a way to make it work though. I told my guys anytime they know they have anything they know they can come up to me and ask me questions and stuff like that. It’s just different. I don’t have that time to go in and break down guys’ swings and look at guys’ stuff and really dive into it.
"For certain people, they don’t get the video until the next day and at that point they’re already trying to get ready for the game. For me, I usually get my video probably in an hour from now and then I stay up until two in the morning trying to break it down, line it up and get going. But a lot of guys don’t do that. Fortunately, for me, I have my laptop which has every swing I've taken in the big leagues since 2015, so I can kind of line it up and do my own analysis. But most guys come to the park and line it up and look at the computer and look at what they’re doing versus what they’re doing now. But we don’t have anything with that."