Martin's Post-Trade Breakthrough Excites Phillies

PHILADELPHIA—The Phillies believe they picked up a future big league battery in the July trades that sent outfielders Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino to the West Coast.

Tommy Joseph, who came over from the Giants in the Pence trade, looks like the team's catcher of the future. He could one day be joined in Philadelphia by righthander Ethan Martin, acquired from the Dodgers as the linchpin of the Victorino deal.

Martin, 23, made seven impressive starts at Double-A Reading after the trade, going 5-0, 3.18 and allowing 29 hits while walking 18 and striking out 35 in 40 innings.

"Previously, command was an issue, but with us he was lights out," farm director Joe Jordan said. "He came at you with power stuff—power fastball, power breaking ball, he showed you a change. Five of his seven outings for us were really solid."

A first-round pick out of a Georgia high school in 2008, Martin allowed a slew of baserunners—including more than six walks per nine innings—as he struggled through the 2010-11 seasons.

He began putting things together in 2012 by shaving his walk rate (4.7 per nine) in 20 starts at Double-A Chattanooga.

He kept on improving after the trade to Philadelphia. For the season, Martin went 13-6, 3.48 in 27 starts. He allowed just 118 hits in 158 innings and his 4.5 walks per nine innings, though not stellar, was the best mark of his career.

Martin, 6-foot-2 and strong-bodied, was pleased with his progress in 2012.

"The first couple of years were rough," he said. "I didn't start pitching until my senior year in high school, so it was all kind of new to me. But I kept pushing and I'm finally seeing the payoff I've worked for. I feel like it's coming along, maybe a little slower than expected, but it's coming along.

"I had mixed emotions after the trade, but it's part of the game. I'm ready to start a new beginning. It's an honor that the Phillies wanted me."


• Center fielder Tyson Gillies went 7-for-15 with a double and triple in his first four games for Lara in the Venezuelan League.

• The Phillies promoted Ryne Sandberg from Triple-A manager to big league third-base coach. Likewise, Rod Nichols earned a promotion from Lehigh Valley pitching coach to big league bullpen coach. Minor league hitting coordinator Steve Henderson becomes big league hitting coach.