The top prospect in the well-stocked Indians organization, Martinez, a 24-year-old switch-hitting catcher, was the league batting champ and MVP for Class A Kinston (N.C.) in 2001 and for Double A Akron last year. The 6'2", 185-pound Venezuelan struggled miserably early this season at Triple A Buffalo, hitting .225 in the first 7� weeks, but now that he's learned how to hit off-speed stuff, Martinez is again slicing up opposing pitchers. Last Friday night he hit two home runs, and through Sunday he had seven for the season and had raised his average to .313.
With Cleveland getting little production from starting catcher Josh Bard (.227,16 RBIs through Sunday), Martinez, who hit .281 in a 12-game stint with the Indians last September, will be called up soon. "Victor has been making a lot of progress offensively," says Cleveland manager Eric Wedge. "At some point in time we want to take a look at him. I don't have a specific time frame, but sometime this summer."