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Ace in a Hole: As the Red Sox faithful watched expectantly, star Pedro Martinez delivered a horrid Opening Day performance, raising new worries all over New England

Martinez, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, sets the tone for Boston, however, and while his entrance may have had the feel of a heavyweight champ ascending to the ring, his bravado was tinged with hope rather than confidence. Beginning last June 27, he was on the disabled list for all but two weeks of the rest of the season with a partially torn rotator cuff, the first serious injury of his major league career. After a spring training in which he didn't have command of his devastating arsenal of pitches, Martinez, 30, finds himself at a career crossroads. As [Jason] Varitek says, "This is a different world for him right now."

"I would say, Be patient with the way I'm coming along," Martinez said near the conclusion of spring training. "I was in a very difficult situation last year, and I don't want to go through that again."

-- Stephen Cannella

Issue date: April 8, 2002 Photograph by David Bergman